The reality of being Black in America is that you don’t choose your identity, it chooses you.
And being identified as Black comes with a pre-set construct of disenfranchisement that we fight through every day. It’s not glamorous, desirable or fair. But it is our collective struggle.
This is a lesson Tiger Woods finally received early Monday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence in South Florida.
As reported by CNN, the golf champion was arrested about 3 a.m.. on Memorial Day by Jupiter police. He was booked into a local jail and released on his own recognizance with no bond a few hours later, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office’s online records.
Woods claims he was not intoxicated from alcohol but was having a reaction to prescribed medications from a back surgery.
Nonetheless, it was a run in with the law.
Aside from the shock of the arrest, everyone else was talking about the fact that “Black” was put down on his booking sheet as his race. But if you recall, Woods is a self-proclaimed “Cablinasian,” defined as a blend of Caucasian, Black American, American Indian and Asian.
Listen. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with recognizing all elements of your ethnicity. Beyoncé had an entire commercial noting her French and Native American background. But Woods went out of his way to distinguish himself as different. As if noting his mixed race would set him a part from the Black populace, removing himself fully from the plight of Black Americans. He never explicitly said it, but it was implied by him coining the term Cablinasian.
Regardless of his efforts, in the eyes of White America, Tiger Woods is a Black man. Plain and simple. Top world rankings and 79 official PGA Tour wins aside, he’s a Black man. And to be honest, Black America wished he’d recognized that sooner.
You have to laugh at the tweets poking fun at Woods. But below the surface of the conversation is the reminder that there are still folks distancing themselves from Blackness like it’s the plague.
Little do they know they’re missing out on a culture rich in history, beauty and resilience.
Side note, he’s still not invited to the cookout.