Friday, December 11, 2009

Dr. Deborah Stroman: Tiger Acting Like a Black Athlete Now?

by Dr. Deborah Stroman 


Tiger Woods has a problem and now so do I. I was naïve to think that I could survive this holiday season of Tigervision with its seemingly minute-by-minute reports of his self-described transgressions. Every media outlet needs a story to remain viable in this world of at-your-touch news and Tiger’s naughtiness provides the perfect scoop. This tale probably has no beginning and quite possibly no end. However, my nerves became frayed and I saw the immediate end of my sideline observer role when I changed the channel and popped in on the Joy Behar Show. As they discussed the latest Tiger escapade, Ms. Behar cleverly asked for insight on how the African-American community might possibly feel about his sins. Her query was directed to a female African-American guest, Karith Foster, who calmly stated that Tiger was finally acting like a black athlete. Pump your brakes!

Although Ms. Foster’s listed occupation is comedian, she made her bold statement sans smile or giggle. She was very serious and obviously hurt by his choice of women in this scandal. She went on to describe how the black athlete needs a white woman – a trophy wife – to be successful. Ms. Foster’s understanding of the black male athlete is a stereotype and confusion-filled. Shame on her and the media for supporting the racist mindset that promulgates a representation of the black male athlete as a superhuman man that seeks sexual pleasure from every white female that worships his athletic prowess. Surely we in 2009 know better, right? Yes, the ESPNification of our sports world has created larger than life entertainment figures. Money, power and women. That’s the ticket out of a poor situation – mentally and physically. It is no longer satisfactory to score a touchdown and hand the ball to the referee or dunk the basketball and hustle back to play defense. Instead we see many of our athletes (and more likely a black man) showboating, drawing attention to themselves, and discounting the teamwork necessary to achieve such success. We as fans are drawn to the television waiting to see the clownish antics instead of running to the restroom or going back for more chips.

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