It all started, as it always does, with fried chicken.
Offenders reducing a black man’s identity to a deflated stereotype — especially one boiling down to food — have usually felt like the oppressed in their own lives because they are losers on some level; they cannot quite reach that elusive gold ring of accomplishment.
In armchair psycho-speak, it’s externalized self-hatred.
And since racists are simple-minded mofos, I’ma show ’em how to be simple-minded correctly.
This is the story of the Cablanasian and the Spaniard.
Or, really, it’s about how the Spaniard can and perhaps has been mistaken for Mexican and how the Cablanasian tries his hardest never to be mistaken for a black man.
Confusing hilarity ensues.
Sergio Garcia has had some kind of mostly one-sided beef with Tiger Woods for awhile now and it reached its apex when the Golf Channel’s Steve Sands jokingly — and stupidly — asked Garcia at the European Tour awards dinner May 21 if he intended to invite Woods over for dinner during the U.S. Open.
“We will have him ’round every night,” Garcia said. “We will serve fried chicken.”
Garcia immediately apologized via European Tour officials (because, hey, Europeans have their racism on lockdown), saying the comment wasn’t meant to be racist. The next day he apologized again by saying he just felt “sick” about it; then there were flurries more of apologies and one last blanket apology to Woods and “anyone I could have offended by the comment.”
You get an apology! You get an apology! And you get an apology!
Unfortunately, execs from neither the PGA nor the European tours have leveled any fines or disciplinary action against Garcia and they won’t utter a mumbling word about how the face of golf has changed (yeah, right) or about how they have zero tolerance for all those old overtly racist attitudes, language and behaviors that once besmirched and still dog the golf game to this day.
They’ve yet to exalt Woods for all the money, attention, youthful energy and throngs of fans he’s brought to the game — even when his sexcapades came to light.
It reminds me of a quote from Kanye West, another maligned, confused and accomplished black man:
Once again, my friends, it sadly comes down to niggadom.
And, much as I feel for Woods in this instance, he’s done nothing to help himself.
Ask President Barack Obama about this; he’ll confide there’s a lot of racial/racist tomfoolery at play when you’re swirled.
Fully formed biracial men with one black parent know that, in America, one black parent makes you black in the eyes of the seer regardless of how you regard or define your racial self.
So a few years ago when Woods tried shaking the notion of blackness while quelling the questions of just what are you and do you consider yourself black, he came up with Cablanasian as a catch-all for his African- and Native-American, white and Asian bloodlines.
But ignorance don’t know from bloodlines; ignorance sees brown skin and a certain hair texture and calls it coon and assumes it scarfs fried chicken and watermelon.
Because he’s been largely sheltered, tutored and coddled by his late father and because his genius golf abilities have deafened him to the whispers in the clubhouse, Woods had really no idea how to defend himself against Garcia’s public dis.
Woods never played the dozens; he’s never reached inside his golf bag and pulled out a quip as ridiculous as the one Garcia lobbed at him; he doesn’t know what it means to meet absurdity with absurdity.
If it were me — and thank Fuzzy Zoeller it wasn’t — I’d have told Garcia to dry off his back, to stuff a bean burrito in his trap and I’d have invited him to come by my house to cut my grass.
See, ignorant. It’s easy.
Then the public Twitter-fied conversation would’ve derailed into the fact that Garcia isn’t Hispanic but European, then sportswriters with half a brain (and that ain’t many) could break down the assumptions and stereotypes about race, geography, complexion.
But it’s all for naught.
Garcia and Woods do make a lovely couple.
The former has a rep for choking, for whining and for beefing with the greatest golfer of his generation. (Who was Garcia before all this started, anyway? I’d never heard of him.)
Woods, for his part, has a rep for being a golf intellectual, for being a clutch player, an unmatchable champion, for his penchant for Ambien sex with white blonde women who all look eerily alike and for never once publicly embracing any part of his blackness buried within that Cablanasian-ness.
So of course he soft-pedaled his response to Garcia’s fried chicken comment by initially saying it was “wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate,” then wrapped up minutes later by saying it was “time to move on and talk about golf.”
No, it’s time for you to talk about race.
About being a black man in a clearly unforgiving sport.
About the legacy and example your black father left you with in times of non-golf trouble; about how untangling difficult shots has never prepared you for outmaneuvering racists.
It is time for you to have a public, come-to-Jesus conversation-cum-press conference about all the Fuzzy Zoellers and Sergio Garcias who’ve come to test your psyche in your golf game.
And, for the hell of it, bring a bucket of the Colonel’s best.
Meantime, what exactly are you doing with all that repressed anger and denial about who you are?
I don’t trust it. However, I do wonder who pulled Tiger Woods aside and told him he should be upset by Garcia’s comment.
Prolly his white girlfriend.
CONTACT KATHY Y. WILSON: firstname.lastname@example.org