“Out of the blackest part of my soul, across the zebra striping of my mind, surges this desire to be suddenly white. I wish to be acknowledged not as black but as white...who but a white woman can do this for me? By loving me she proves that I am worthy of white love. I am loved like a white man...I marry white culture, white beauty, white whiteness. When my restless hands caress those white breasts, they grasp white civilization and dignity and make them mine.”
---Franz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
I had no comment to offer on Tiger Woods' indiscretions until I rediscovered the above quote. Fanon so perfectly describes Woods' sickness that it demanded I proceed. So Tiger, I guess you ain't had it right 'till you had it white, no?
I am a huge fan of the "swirl"--the intermingling of bodies differently hued in the midst of hot, sweaty, lovemaking. Moreover, I have never understood so much energy expended over one's choice of who to bed and for what reasons. That qualifier being known, Tiger Woods is a special case.
If Tiger were worthy of blackness I would label him a "tragic negro." But, for all of his gifts, he walked away from his ancestry and history. To boot, Woods is self-hating (see this article in Esquire magazine where he revels in telling white folks racist jokes about black people). Predictably, Woods does not have the blues sensibility that comes from a sense of belonging to the Black Atlantic. Tiger does not hear the drum--nor does he ever want to.
I am accommodating. If Woods had said "hey, my mom is Asian, my dad is Black, and I honor both," I could respect him, rather, against the force of history and commonsense, Tiger in the height of arrogance, invents his own race. Now a "Cablinasian," Woods is his own man, not standing on the shoulders of those athletes of color who struggled to open doors that he now freely walks through. Tiger is now/was an island onto himself.
During his ascension, I was tempted to let Woods stay in self-imposed racial exile as the multicultural marketing machine that is 21st century corporate America, of which he was one of its greatest examples, used him--and he used it. Like OJ Simpson before him (Hertz jumping, airport running, Nicole Simpson white prize possessing negro that he is) Woods was given a pass into nominal whiteness. Just like soccer legend Pele in the "racial democracy" that is Brazil--who ironically was the butt of the joke that only in Brazil could Pele (a dark skinned black man) be "white"--Woods has so much money that some would allow him this latitude of racial self-invention.
But like so many of wealth and prestige, Tiger Woods could not resist drinking deeply from the fountain of self-indulgence. Whiteness, or to be more specific, White women, were his ambrosia. Like a mere mortal at a feast of Dionysus hosted by Pan, Woods drank too deeply to only awaken drunken on a neighbor's lawn in the midst of a maelstrom of his own making.
Who knows what will come of Tiger. Financially, he will be fine. Rich before. Rich now. Rich later. To his credit, Woods is consistent. If one looks at the rogues gallery that are his mistresses and dalliances he does have a particular taste: white of any hue, station, habitus, beauty, or way. Pity then, that this appetite would be his destruction (Even more sad given Tiger's resources. I must ask the obvious: Could he not have found women that were on average more attractive? At least possessing the class and beauty of his wife as opposed to some Jersey shore castoffs or a woman picked up at Dave and Busters or Hooters?).
The DSM-IV, the bible for psychotherapists, has a pithy diagnosis for Woods' behavior: he is addicted to white women.
Please do not misunderstand me. It is not the fact that Woods likes white women that is so troubling. I could care less. What is troubling, is that Tiger so needs a certain type of woman as a means of immunizing himself--or so he thought--from his own blackness. This is a mode of racial fetishizing and obsession that is dishonorable to Woods' family. It is also, at least in my opinion, doubly insulting to the women that Woods bedded for he did not want them because they happened to be White. No, he wanted these women precisely because they were White. This is a subtle but very important distinction.
Pray tell, who better than Tiger Woods exemplifies the following description of the sickness that is "addiction?"
The term "addiction" is used in many contexts to describe an obsession, compulsion, or excessive psychological dependence, such as: drug addiction (e.g. alcoholism, nicotine addiction), problem gambling, crime, money, work addiction, compulsive overeating, credit card addiction, compulsive debting, computer addiction, video game addiction, pornography addiction, television addiction, etc. In medical terminology, an addiction is a chronic neurobiologic disorder that has genetic, psychosocial, and environmental dimensions...The term addiction is also sometimes applied to compulsions that are not substance-related, such as problem gambling and computer addiction. In these kinds of common usages, the term addiction is used to describe a recurring compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity, despite harmful consequences, as deemed by the user themself to their individual health, mental state, or social life.