The futility of crossing over? Woods, Beyonce, Obama

Forgive me.  I was distracted this last few weeks by my solo art show.  But though my head was buried in preparations, who could miss Tiger Woods’ name and affairs spread all over the media?

Now, I’m not one to wallow in celebrity carnage, but Woods’ dilemmas, and a couple other things, brought me to thinking about the above-mentioned people.

Tiger Woods is one of the pride of black people, particularly African Americans.  Imagine, the top of the golf chain being occupied by a black man, breaking all the records of white men in a sport where blacks only involvement was to carry bags and keep the white man’s balls shiny clean.

But Woods never obliged, he practically denied his most obvious racial feature.  Most of us figured that that was for marketing purposes, to cross over.  But Woods continued to do what the stereotypical successful black man does… court and marry white.

Ohhhh Kaaayyyy.  Perhaps there was still redemption, perhaps he was still playing the Maaan’s game… beating him at his game and taking his women.  Way to go, brothaaa!

But this adulterous circus has proven otherwise.  Blood in the streets, literally.

Now, I was disappointed but not affronted by Woods denial of his ‘blackness’. A man has the right to define himself as he wishes, irrespective of the reality.  And a man/woman has the right to love whom they want.   Hey, love is supposed to and does at times, break down barriers.

And I won’t decry him his ‘fun’.  He had come to believe that he was invincible, the top of the world, able to take anything he wanted, do anything he wished. He believed his own press.

But one look at Woods’ embarrassing imbroglio and quite clearly, the clearer the better for him… there is a white thread running all the way through.  Woods is no better than OJ Simpson, and in his most embarrassing moment, he has found that the white people he so wishes to be accepted by, sees him as little else than a ‘nigger’.  They are like that.

I’m willing to bet that Woods most steady support will eventually come from black people, even if the relationship was somewhat tenuous before.  We are like that.

***

During the weeks of the woods (Tiger Woods, Elin Woods and the wood she swung at his head), I glanced at the tv and noticed Beyonce performing.  For some reason, I figured that either my tv was off or Beyonce was a little ‘clearer’ than usual.  Since I don’t follow pop culture, I googled “Is Beyonce getting whiter?”, and Whoops there it is. Pages of discussion with the consensus being that the lady appears to be bleaching.  Nope, not the bleaching of staying out late, but as in ‘whitening’. Yep, we have another Michael Jackson on our hands.

Again, if someone wants to do that, its their business.  But I feel sorrow for the millions of black children who will be served a severe blow to their self-esteem as their darling little princesses and princes seek to ‘cross over’. Is this their new role models… people who want to disassociate themselves from ‘THEM’.

In my youth, there was a surge of blackness, black pride, young, gifted and black.  The question is how did we devolve from ‘Black is beautiful’ to ‘If you’re black, get back’?  Why are we no longer taking pride in our natural self?  Both men and women are screwing around with their hair and their skin.  Some go as far as to surgically altar the major signs of their racial identity.

If Beyonce is doing so, she cannot claim marketing purposes.  She is not in the caliber of Michael Jackson and will never ever be the Queen of Pop.  So it would be a case of her own lack of self-love.  Her act of self-denial however, is a betrayal of all those strong black women who struggled to bring us where we are.

I remember just a few years ago I caught a young black cashier gazing adoringly at some mixed kids.   When I tried to convince of her own beauty and the beauty of the hair she was hiding under a cheap wig, she was adamant that she didn’t have ‘good hair’.  It depressed me because I knew that represented far deeper image issues amongst her peers, her family and her neighbourhood.

People like Beyonce don’t need to ‘unblack’.  They already have fame and fortune… but I guess they think they need acceptance from the group of people who will always scorn them, irrespective of chemical peels and weaves.

***

Now why did I link president Barack Obama with those two?  No one can claim that Obama isn’t about self-love, and there aren’t any apparent signs that he is denying that in America he is considered black, despite his equally mixed parentage.

But Obama has been forced to try to remove race as an issue.  Afterall, Obama couldn’t have been elected solely on black votes, and neither would he have been elected if he had promoted a black campaign.

But to many, Obama is suited to redress the racial disparities in this society and he has done little to do so.  Some see that as a betrayal, I see it as a political necessity.

But one cannot avoid thinking that race plays a whole lot in his presidency, even if its just a matter of avoiding it.  And we at one point or the other, will wonder whether if he was white, there would be this drop in the polls, even though he has not really done anything to really deserve that.  At least George Bush had completely bankrupted the country in his first 8 months.   Obama is only trying to redress that.

But like with OJ and others, over 90% of blacks show strong support for Obama. His numbers for his white supporters have declined dramatically.  Yet nowhere is there as much failed expectations as with the black community.

True, there are failed expectations with the white community.  They had figured that he would be different because he was, aaagh, different. They thought that the blackness of his skin would change how Washington is really run.

But if he was white, and did exactly as he is doing, would there be patience?  That’s the question to ask.

***

As I write this, news is coming out that the public health option, the lynchpin of health care reform is doomed, forced out by moderate democrats.  So in a few short years, once the hoopla has died down health care will be exactly back where it is right now.  Just like regulations to keep the banking industry in line was watered down by George Bush.

This is one of Obama’s cowardices, failing to fight for what he believes in.  But then again, what does he believe in?

***

And in Jamaica, Bruce Golding has brokered a peace deal between the so-called musical leaders of the so-called Gaza/Gully dispute.  This dispute started simply as a marketing tool between artistes Mavado and Vibz Kartel.  Like a demon unearth, these two had no way to control the demon they unleashed.

So Golding stepped in.  Normally this is good news but knowing Mr Golding’s penchant for grandstanding, the whole issue troubles me.  Why did it need the prime minister to meet with these factions?  It sounds a little Obama-ish to me.  How come the ministry of National Security and the police and all the other peace initiative organisations failed?  Was a deal brokered before and the pm stepped in to hog the credit?  How long will peace last?  For according to reports, all that came out of the meet-up was a peace concert and t-shirts?  Did meeting with these factions legitimize them?  Will the pm step up when there is a spate of shootings downtown?  Is Golding the first national Don?

I will wait and see.

***

There is an interesting follow-up to the Derek Latibeaudiere’s loans in that it appears that finance minister Audley Shaw approved the loans, albeit perhaps after the fact.  The prime minister had to have known that.  Readers can draw their own conclusions.

 

hearirant

Writer, photographer, artist. Have been doing all three for some time. More about myself and my art can be found at http://www.louisdavisart.com, and http://www.broward.org/arts/publications/cq/2008/winter08/cq_winter08.htm

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