A short while ago I wrote about Tiger Woods’ fall from mixed-race grace. The same tumble Obama is currently taking. They are both–Barack and Tiger, two wildly popular individuals in powerful positions, in white male dominated fields–politics and golf. If only I could say the similarities ended there.
In my first column about Tiger Woods I wrote a bit about the implications of his transgressions and his text messages which suggested he was just another hyper-sexed black man. Pimp picture at Australian Open. Fair enough. Pimps have women and Tiger had about eight of them. However, the depiction of black men as pimps and abusers of women is thrown around far too often for its use to go completely under the radar. Even in Tiger Woods’ case where it seems an appropriate connotation, I can’t help but view it as code for black man–a new angle to shed light on his true colors. Pun intended.
While the use of the pimp picture is often believed to be a funny attempt at mocking today’s political leaders who find themselves mired in baby mama and mistress drama this has hardly been the case for Barack Obama who has shown himself to be nothing but a dedicated father and family man. And while it may be safe to assume Barack had a way with women prior to Michelle, there hasn’t been much of any information about former lovers. So why the pimp pic? It definitely isn’t a reflection of his swag with the Senate.
While Barack and Tiger are two of the world’s most successful individuals, their current individual predicaments leave few similarities between them, so how did they both end up donning pimp hats? From what I see, they are two powerful black men leading the way in two very white spaces and they are both experiencing backlash for very different reasons. Barack’s health care planning and same-sex ideology has taken a hit and Tiger Woods is in such bad shape he has escaped to Mississippi.
The more successful one becomes, the whiter he appears to be and the more obstinate, the blacker. Tom Watson got right to the point when he said Tiger Woods needed to show some “humility.” The pimp pic was just one reminder in a long line of racial reminders (remember Fuzzy Zoeller) that Tiger is simply just another black man in a white world. The same goes for Barack. And what better reminder than the greatest black character ever–the pimp.