While recently watching a television program, “Tiger Woods: America’s Son,” I remembered a January 1992 column in which I listed my greatest wishes for that year. My first wish was that “We as a proud people would cease claiming people who don’t want to be with us.” We are not so lacking in positive, quality Black people that we must claim people who desire other identities. It’s way past time when we should identify such people however they desire.
Tiger Woods, who was described in the program as having “The blood of four races in his veins,” has consistently described himself as a Cablinasian. Which is exactly what I call him on those rare occasions he comes up in a conversation. He lives in the same self-proclaimed racial no man’s land as entertainer Whoopi Goldberg, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and academician Thomas Sowell, all of whom were quoted in the 1992 column. In her memoir, “Book,” Goldberg declared, “Call me an a–hole, call me a blowhard, but don’t call me an African American. Please. It divides us as a nation and as a people and it kinda pisses me off. It diminishes everything I’ve accomplished.”
Justice Thomas was quoted in the Thomas-loving Richmond-Times Dispatch as saying, before he was appointed to the Supreme Court, “If I ever went to the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) or did anything directly connected with Blacks, my career would be irreparably ruined. The monkey would be on my back because I’m Black. People meeting me for the first time would automatically dismiss my thinking as second-rate.” Please note that he had no critical words for those who would automatically make such an assumption. Academician Sowell was quoted as saying, “Black students with SAT scores of 1,000 should not consider going to any Black college because they will be educationally mismatched.”
The above “persons of color” should be very glad that civil and human rights warriors such as Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, C. DeLores Tucker, Lerone Bennett Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., Kwame Ture, Brother Malcolm X and those Black youngsters who put their lives on the line on Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama, in 1965 didn’t share their positions. If they had, Woods wouldn’t have had an opportunity to win all of those Masters golf tournaments, Goldberg wouldn’t be appearing regularly in films and on television, Thomas wouldn’t be a Supreme Court justice and Sowell wouldn’t be glorified in the white academic world.
As we move into what could possibly be a very contentious 2021, it’s very important that serious Black folks reject such people as role models for our children.