Published in Trespass and Debaser Online

As Tiger Woods dodges one bullet after another, in the form of women with unfortunately dirty little secrets, a discussion is rumbling throughout the African American community in the USA. With Woods’s Swedish wife in the background and a string of Caucasian women telling tales of hair pulling, a Big Question has emerged; why does he only go for white women?

One joke response (and we all know jokes are simply humourously put morsels of truth) has been that a black woman would castrate him for cheating (whereas white women just use golf clubs and indeed irony as their weapon of choice). All jokes aside, the offence taken to Tiger’s preference for/attraction to, white women, is clear. Inter-racial relationships, it would seem, despite constant calls for people to accept them as possible and valid as any other kind of relationship, are fine to defend passionately when a Priest refuses to marry one, but not okay when a pattern emerges of a fondness for a race not your own.

The message is quite simply that Tiger Woods is black, therefore his penchant for white women is somewhat unacceptable and inherently offensive. Marrying a white woman is one thing – but being repeatedly attracted to them? Clearly quite another.

But hang on a second. Tiger Woods is half Thai. His mother is Thai (with Chinese and Dutch ancestry), his father African American (with Chinese and Native American ancestry). Now, humour me, because I want to start nitpicking at something that irritates me about the seemingly instinctive need for people to racially categorise those of mixed race and privilege one race over the other.  According to Wikipedia, if you break it down, Woods is equal parts Chinese, African American and Thai. Which technically makes him more Asian than African American.

So why the raised brows in the African American communities and the denouncing of his female preferences for not being black? Why aren’t the Asian-Americans getting their knickers in a knot about the lack of Asian women in his romantic (term used loosely) past? And what is it about Wood’s racial make-up that dictates his partners must be of a particular race? His appearance? His media status as a black, boundary breaking athlete? Or an inability on the part of all races, to live and let live with people’s sexual and romantic choices.

Bi-racial and mixed-racial issues are interesting, if not rather knotty. As aforementioned, there seems to always emerge a dominant one of the two races which defines how that person is racially categorized – and often, not necessarily on the part of the subject, rather by how that person is seen by others. Barack Obama, whose mother was white, is black. Alicia Keys, whose mother is white, is black. And Tiger Woods, whose mother is Asian, is black.  Now, why this tendency to privilege one race over another in someone’s heritage, exists, I’m not entirely sure – I’m sure there are primal and psychological reasons for it because we all do it. And it is clearly also a result of infinite layers of historical, social, political, cultural and religious reasons – I completely understand that, and I am far too ill-equipped to even begin unraveling them.

But the fact is, this tendency exists, and not just within African American and Caucasian communities and not just within the USA; and it fuels fiery discussions which reveal, when it comes to the crunch, a somewhat instinctive reluctance to live and let live with inter-racial relationships.