Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

I have to say that I am nonplussed by the commentary on Tiger Woods that has been published and broadcast since Thanksgiving Day of 2009. A man cheated on his wife. Whoa, stop the presses. Hey - I think President's have done that! A man cheated on his wife again and again and again. Whoa - news at eleven! And six and five and seven and ten and repeat ad infinitum. And you know? I think a President has done that too.

So this story is not about a man cheating on his wife. And if Michael Bloomberg can be a divorced father of two kids and still be the three time mayor of NYC, then it's not a story about money either. What is this story about? Why is a golfer - for God's sake, a golfer! - being spoken about in such a manner that leads well meaning idiots like Bret Hume to utter - on air, two nights in a row - that this young Buddhist needs to convert to Christianity; that the very act of saying the blessed name Jesus Christ - out loud - will rectify all of the past misdeeds of a golfer (??!!!!) and wash his sins away.

And no, its not a story about religion, because this is an American story and all American stories are about race - that most fictitious of all elements and yet imbued with such artifice that it has been allowed to enslave father, mother and child for centuries and ensnares their progeny even down to this day; such that some of us - and now, TIger knows he is one of us - pretend they can think of themselves as, "Cablinasian". At times, we allow ourselves to wander through a looking-glass and begin to adopt the rationalizations of the Master; that but for our nature as full-blooded Congo, mulatto, quadroon, octoroon, or whatever the hell a one-sixteenth black is called (besides, nigg- (hey-o! This is a family show), we would be accepted as the full brother of humanity that we are.





I am too old to buy that particular line of cock-and-bull today. You gotta dress that stuff up in evening wear if you think I am going to take that out on the town.

This story - the unfolding drama that is the rise, then fall (and rise again?) of Tiger Woods, is one big, old-fashioned, American party of:"I knew we couldn't trust that negro!" Tiger has been tarred and feathered and run out of town by almost every single one of the corporate sponsors who used to wait on him hand and foot (and some of them probably introduced Tiger to one or two of their female friends, you know - just how the recruiters at USC still do.) So, yes: I'm angry. I'm angry that yet one more Charlie Brown stepped up and tried to kick that football. But I'm even more upset at myself for allowing myself to ever buy into a portion of the hype that was Tiger Woods. He's a man. Men do as we have always done - and if evolution is to be believed, then we are the men women have selected us to be. Do I feel bad for Elin and the children she and Tiger had together? Sure, but this story is not about one man and one woman; it's about one more black man who had to be taught the hard way that he cannot make the same mistakes as other men - other white men.

Not in this country.

Not today.

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Great American Myths, Debunked

I was in Los Angeles on Election Night - 3000 miles from my home in Miami. I did early voting in Florida and then headed out west to spend some time with family, filled with anticipation of what was to come. You see, unlike some, I had fully and completely tossed my hand in with the fates (as documented here for the record). Sure, I felt Obama had a chance to cross over the 400 EV mark, but I was immanently satisfied with the 365-received (I covered my bet with that minimum of 331 EV). So at 8 PM PST, when they declared California for Obama and put him over the demarcation line of 270 EV into the winner's circle as the 44th President of the United States of America; the room, the house and the neighborhood around me erupted into joyous celebration. All around me - and in all communities across the country - Americans were triumphantly passing the torch from the old to the new.

And yet, what began as a whisper on that night ("did you hear? Prop 8 passed. I think it was the black vote that did it"), has since turned into a tsunami of recriminations and remonstrations all with the common theme of - "sigh, well we should have anticipated that black people would bring their prejudices with them to the polls."


Just what made anyone believe that this particular exit poll was any more accurate than all of the previous pre- and post-election polls across this campaign season? From New Hampshire in January through California in November, polls had consistently misunderestimated how to properly model both the overall wave of voters who were heading to the polls as well as the demographic breakdowns of those voters. But when you live in a country with a media as dedicated to removing daily reports from any historical context, each and every story is reported as though each day begins anew, with no context of what happened yesterday or - God forbid - six months ago.

And so we were treated to a parade of talking heads, each with their own rationale for why black folks behaved so trenchantly, truculently and - okay, I am out of appropriate adjectives that start with the letter "t" - and just what could be done to rectify this terrible, horrible very bad deed? Now, we have two university professors who have conducted a precinct-level statistical analysis of voting data; their results show that - oh, the horror! - black voters were pretty much like everyone else who entered the voting booth.

Here is a little tip, for those of you new to the country: America is a homophobic society. I know, I know, it doesn't say that in the vacation travel logs or the real estate brochures, but its true.

As a country, we put sexual orientation above national security!

So no, black voters don't need special outreach programs, black churches don't need special envoys from the gay community (as if they are not already represented) and we don't need guest spots on "black radio" (as if the commercialized community exploitation devices have any relationship with black radio that was once organically part of the community) offering to tell listeners the way, the truth and the light.

As a country, we need to wake up and let people be people. It is our society - along with many others around the world, to be fair - that has an issue with homosexual behavior. To say it plainly: this is the last area in which discrimination is accepted publicly. One can be the lead pastor of a megachurch, as well as the author of best-selling books and feel free to go on television and say something beyond nonsensical, merely because the object of the sentence is gay people.

Although the press fails to consider history as a component of their responsibilities, we are all swimming together in the same tide. Dr. King used to say that the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice. I would hope, that in the same year in which we all witnessed the election of the first black president of the United States of America, we could all have just a little faith in the words of Dr. King.

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America, the literate!

I cannot disagree with the thesis of this essay more strongly than the preceding double negative implies.

The author - although he indirectly tosses in an attack on our most literate President of the past 100-years, Barack Obama - overlooks the explicit use by Obama of words to define himself as a candidate. True, for this he was derided by his opponents as "just offering words" or "just making speeches", but Obama showed that by being literate he could still communicate effectively with those who have the deepest and strongest ties to language - the literate class as defined by the author - as well as those who are less well read, even all the way across the spectrum to those defined as illiterate.

We know this is true by simple analysis of the almost 70 million votes received by Obama: he won over 95% of the voting eligible population (VEP) of African Americans; this is the same group that has an almost 50% drop-out rate from high school, a defining factor for illiteracy. Similarly, he won over two-thirds of the Latino VEP; again - another highly illiterate population. And Obama carried the white vote under the age of 45 - regardless of education levels; this includes a significant percentage of the white illiterate vote as well. I defy the author of this post to assess the reading level of Obama's A More Perfect Union speech, given this past March on perhaps the most dangerous of topics in America: race. Had the author chosen to step up to the plate and analyze this data point - as opposed to the sneer he included of "yes we can" reference - he might have realized just how transformative a candidate Obama is to our nation.

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Let Freedom Ring!

Awesome post - but don't kid yourself. The strain of incredulity that can be found in the modern GOP has roots older than the Republic itself. Remember, we were the first nation founded on the belief of a sub-human species. Pardon me, but I tend to rant and toss things about my home when I watch people - especially Americans - point a finger at the Germans and say silly things like, "we don't want to make their mistakes."


Have you seen our Constitution? Have you heard about this little thing called "the 3/5ths Compromise?" Have you heard of this innocuous Supreme Court decision called "the Dred Scott Case?"

Wake Up! It was not the Germans who made it a capital crime to teach Africans to read!

The very concept of a superior human race was codified in this country, through the creation of a "white race" and a whole host and amalgamations of "lesser races" - embodied most explicitly (and most evilly?) in the "black race." Upon arrival upon these shores (and usually upon making a religious transformation from the Catholic to a Protestant faith), a Frenchman, an Irishman, an Italian and a German suddenly became a Whiteman and entitled to any and all benefits therein. The great thing about going through this transformation - and why so many volunteered to make this crossing, generation after generation - is that at the exact moment of arising from baptism in the stream of Belief in the Eternal Purity of White, one ascended the social ladder to be forever atop the lesser races. You might not have had any more money (although you might!) and you certainly did not have a nicer house (but it could happen!), but the one fact of which you could be certain is that you were forever superior to that darky down the street, you know - the one on the other side of the tracks?

Leave the German people alone. Look to your own history - our own history. Until you - we - wipe away the stain present at the founding of our own Republic, we will never know the fruits of freedom.

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A More Perfect Approach

Why do we act as though we are not sure what a President Obama will do with the ongoing conflict that is the Israel / Palestine issue?

He has said many times that he does not believe in doing the same thing and expecting different results; he will not merely pick up the template laid out by GWB or past Presidents.
He has said many times that people can disagree without being disagreeable; he will find those on both sides who trust in that principle and he will introduce them to the dialogue.
He has said many times that change happens from the ground up; he will seek to win over the hearts and minds of Israelites and Palestinians and mobilize them into a ground force for change.

It is almost as though - since we are still in the era of GWB - that people have forgotten the campaign we all witnessed. More than that, we participated in the election more passionately than many of us ever had before. We expressed that passion as Obama tapped into a groundswell flow of change that was roiling beneath the surface of American politics.

Now, I know what Obama will do less than almost anyone else, but I do recall the speech he gave at Constitution Hall - "A More Perfect Union". As I watched him deliver that speech from my perch at C-SPAN, I saw a man dance across the tightrope that is race in America. I sat in stunned amazement while he recognized the concerns of the descendants of slavery, while at the same time he acknowledged the fears of imminent violence that he has even heard within his own family.

I am not Barack Obama - this should hardly need stating - so please do not accept my short summary of the speech. Watch it for yourselves here - http://www.barackobama.com/tv/ - and then report on how these words affected you.

Can you not already picture Obama weaving together a speech that speaks to the aspirations of the people of both Israel and Palestine? Can you not imagine that just as Pastor Wright cast aside the olive branch created and offered by his own constituent, that there will be those on both sides - Israel and Palestine - who will reject the call to hew towards a spirit of common decency?

And just as it did not matter then, it will not matter for the people of Israel / Palestine.

For it was never about Wright, just as it was never about Obama. It was about us and our dreams.

So to will it be for the people of Israel and Palestine. Just as we were moved by his words to change our dialogue and expand our horizons, so too will the people of Israel / Palestine be changed.

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