I’m sure Garcia knows that he erred when he dug into his bag of humor to pull out a tired trope involving inviting Tiger Woods over to the crib for fried chicken to discuss how the two could set aside their feud.
Right now, Garcia is hoping that his sponsors won’t abandon him. Fellow golfer Fuzzy Zoeller, who in 1997 mouthed the same odious stereotype, is right. This storm will blow over. And that’s the problem. Most people, primarily Caucasians, will forget this incident before too long. Already some are suggesting that Woods and other African-Americans have overreacted to it and that Woods and company should get a thicker skin and a sense of humor.
Easy to say when you’re not the target.
If you are white and your knowledge of the entire black race is based on pop-culture images and stereotypes of shuffling, jiving colored folks, then a fried chicken comment might not seem so offensive to you, but it sure sounds hateful to blacks.
In the case of Tiger Woods, the use of the racial stereotype reduces him to the lowest of the low. And that’s another reason Garcia’s comment stung so much. No matter how accomplished you are as an African-American, you can still be considered nothing.
Woods can defend himself, as he already has. And he’ll be fine, no doubt.
But others less fortunate than him still are disadvantaged by these slurs.
And it is sad in the 21st century that we’re still dealing with these ancient, ridiculous and — yes — hurtful stereotypes.
Let’s get over this nonsense, once and for all.
Fred McKissack Jr. wrote this for Progressive Media Project. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org