In today's world, there is a thin line between provoking thought and offending people. Two recent incidents illustrated that to “err is human, to forgive is divine.”
Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman, the first female full-time PGA announcer, found herself in deep water when she suggested that Tiger Woods competitors “should lynch “ him in a effort to defeat him. Golf Magazine found themselves in more hot water when they “attempted” to report on the controversy:
Tiger, in referring to the Tilghman statement, called the comment "a non-issue," stating that Tilghman is a friend,and that "regardless of the choice of words used, we know unequivocally that there was no ill intent in her comments." That should have been the end of the story...right? Wrong!
Golf Magazine, in an effort to demonstrate the impact that the word “lynch” has in the Black community, decided to place a picture of a noose on the front cover on their January 19, 2008 issue (an issue that has since been recalled). In doing so, Golf Magazine learned the hard way "that a picture is worth a thousand words." But didn't the magazine achieved their intended goal, which was to show the initially gut reaction most of us have when invoking the meaning, and imagery, surrounding the significance that is “lynching?” Mind you, the magazine cover took an innocent comment, made with no hatred or concept for Tiger, and blew it out of portion, and it backfired.
More alarming was the fact that there were some people who were not only upset with both events, but also withTiger's reaction (or lack therof). ESPN's Scoop Jackson took it one step further and decided to put words in Tiger's mouth:
Scoop Jackson “doth protest too much (I love it when I can use my Shakespearean education in everyday life!).” We should remember that this is the same Scoop Jackson who gave his friend, basketball player Tim Hardaway, a pass after Hardaway made the statement - “I Hate Gays.” Were Hardaway's statements bigoted, homophobic, offensive? Yes, yes and yes. Did Scoop Jackson write a scathing piece to point all of this out.? No, no, and NO! Mr. Jackson should learn a lesson from Golf Magazine, and stop picking and choosing which bigoted statements he is going to promote, especially if his contempt fluctuates based on the color of the skin of the person who made the statements.
Mr. Jackson is way out of line in his criticism of Tiger. I am sure that Tiger knows all to well the significance of his success, and his place in the world. But Mr. Jackson, it is for Tiger to decide his course (pun intended) in life, and not yours. Mr. Jackson should re-read Tiger's one and only statement regard his race:
Tiger Wood's 1997 Media Statement:
The purpose of this statement is to explain my heritage for the benefit of members of the media who may be seeing me play for the first time. It is the final and only comment I will make regarding the issue.
My parents have taught me to always be proud of my ethnic background. Please rest assured that is, and always will be, the case - past, present, and future.
The media has portrayed me as African-America; sometimes, Asian. In fact, I am both.
Yes, I am the product of two great cultures, one African-American and the other Asian.
On my father's side, I am African-American. On my mother's side, I am Thai. Truthfully, I feel very fortunate, and EQUALLY PROUD, to be both African-American and Asian!
The critical and fundamental point is that ethnic background and/or composition should NOT make a difference. It does NOT make a difference to me. The bottom line is that I am an American...and proud of it!