Saturday, April 05, 2008
Excerpt from: "Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?", by Charles Barkley
"You cannot talk about Tiger Woods and race without dealing with his win at Augusta National in 1997, a historic win not just because Tiger was the first person of color to win there—a place that even now, because of its stance on women not being members, symbolizes exclusion and golf’s lingering intolerance—but because he won by a record margin. Many black people in America didn’t even know what the Masters Tournament was before that weekend. They certainly had never watched. I don’t know if any studies have been done, but my bet is that there were millions of Asians and Hispanics around the world who had never watched golf before, but watched the Masters on that Sunday afternoon when Tiger won. There’s a memory from that day that has nothing to do with golf that Tiger shared during our conversation that afternoon. His tone turned very serious as he recalled it. After the traditional ceremony at Butler Cabin to present him with the customary green jacket, Tiger had something else waiting for him, something that was very rewarding in a different sense.
“So, there’s this closing ceremony,” Tiger explained. “You go on the putting green, where it takes place, and I look up and they’re all there in their white outfits. The cooks, the staff, attendants, everybody. They’re all black. Each one of them came out onto the balcony and watched it. I look back and I start getting choked up just thinking about it. They touched me in a really powerful way. I started thinking about everything these people had faced in life, all the ugliness and all the prejudice and all the obstacles they had to deal with. I’ve seen what they struggle with and I feel so bad. I was thinking that they could have a lot of bitterness and feel ‘Why him? Why not me?’ But they didn’t. They don’t. It was very impactful, man. It was so huge to me, for them to feel that way about me and for them to honor me in that way.
“I’ve gotten to know most of those people now, learning about all the years they worked there. And it’s really that I want to say thank you to them because they influenced my life. They touched me more than they will ever know. Ever. As I walked out that day, I said, ‘Dad, look up there in the clubhouse. Just look over there.’ And my dad started getting choked up. ‘Son,’ he said, ‘take this in.’ And I said, ‘Dad, that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been looking over there the entire time.’”"
James C. Collier
READ MORE ACTING WHITE...
Technorati Tags: Acting White: Tiger Woods, Earl Woods, Masters, Golf, Augusta, Acting White
Posted by James C. Collier at Saturday, April 05, 2008