I originally told myself I wasn’t going to write anything about the whole Tiger Woods “lynching” saga, but I can’t take it anymore. Some of the comments I’ve read and heard are so ignorant, hypocritical and just plain stupid that I just have to rant about it. For those that don’t know what I’m talking about, it was during a recent Golf Channel broadcast that Nick Faldo was saying Tiger Woods is so dominant that the only way the young kids on tour are ever going to overtake him is if there were some way to gang up on him. Kelly Tilghman agreed, jokingly saying yeah they should “lynch him in a back alley”. Racially insensitive choice of words? Yeah, I’ll give you that. But Tiger woods issued a statement saying it was certainly an unfortunate choice of words but he and Kelly are friends and he knows there was no ill intent. End of story. Or so it should have been. But then came the media backlash, wildly overblown as the media is reliably prone to being. Espn.com’s Scoop Jackson was offended because “she didn’t consider the history of African-Americans in this country before speaking”. If he really feels this way, then I am offended by his egomaniacal lack of sense and reason. If I were to apply his same retarded line of thinking, I should declare his comment as racially insensitive since he obviously failed to consider the history of Chinese-American lynchings before writing his article. To lay claim on the injustice of Tilghman’s remark solely for blacks is to be obscenely hypocritical in its disrespect of every other race or group that has been a target of mob lynching in America’s history.
But Scoop’s idiocy and unseemliness doesn’t end there. Tiger Woods’ father Earl once said that he fully believed Tiger would ultimately impact mankind in a transcendental way; that history will remember Tiger as having elevated humanity. And so what does Scoop Jackson think with regards to this Kelly Tilghman situation? Well, he obviously felt that Tiger’s “non-issue” stance was inadequate and that Tiger should have taken a harder line because “Now is the time for the son to make the father a prophet.” That’s right, not only is Scoop Jackson’s position completely myopic, but it also manages to be repugnantly offensive by trying to characterize Tiger’s actions as counter to the hopes of his deceased father!
Now let’s get to the heart of the matter of why I think Tiger Woods has got it right and why Scoop Jackson is ironically hurting his own cause. Here’s what I believe- people are important, not race. And that’s exactly what Tiger’s measured response conveys. He acknowledges that the term “lynching” evokes strong negative emotions in some people, and that’s why Tilghman’s comment was unfortunate. It’s not cool for one person’s comments to hurt another. But if mankind is to evolve to a point where race truly isn’t an issue, then we should all start by acting that way. And in this case the way to act is to realize that some people were hurt by the words, and that’s a real shame, but let’s move on. The wrong thing to do, the thing that takes us all a step backwards, is to view it as a race issue instead of a people issue. If you’re upset because you expect golf analysts to consider every sentence in the context of African-American history before speaking, that is a sure sign that you are very hung up on race. For you, race is still a big deal and ironically, that makes you more a part of the problem than the solution. You are so bent on somehow getting justice for the injustices in history that you can’t see that you are now actually promoting more emphasis on race and not letting anyone who will listen to you move forwards. Put another way, if Tiger strongly renounced the comments of Tilghman, someone who he calls his friend, and he does it over a race issue, how is that a positive example for kids?? What it would teach them is that race is more significant than friendship, race is more important than people. No, I think Tiger handled things exactly the right way, thank you. Kids that see his example will be more likely to grow up thinking that race is not a big deal. This is a good thing. It is infinitely more productive than trying to “lynch” every person that makes a statement which could be construed as racist. Just let it go. We need more and more people to just let it go until eventually a new generation arises that views both racists and people that are hung up on racism as equally irrelevant and outdated. That will be the tipping point in the evolution of our social consciousness. With that in mind, maybe the way Tiger Woods handled this situation was in fact a step towards fulfilling his father’s prophecy.