Urban e-Pistols 1: Dear Tiger Woods

“…even adorned by Norwegian women / blond hair and blue eyes, I’m getting back with a vengeance.”

                                                                                  –Malice (from The Clipse), “Momma I’m Sorry”

                                                                                        “Get back to where you once belonged.”
                                                                                                             
-The Beatles, “Get Back”
Dear Tiger Woods,

Malice understands you; I think I do too. You were doing what you were doing to “get back to where you once belonged,” to quote a famous ditty. I understand. I really do. Now, your wife isn’t Norwegian, I don’t think… But I understand. I truly do. You were getting back, my brother. With a vengeance. Against and to whatever images of perfection seized your mind. And now you’re sorry. Right?

Okay. I have a solution, of sorts.

Give $300,000,000 (at least) to Haiti. Period. I’ve read that this is the amount that you’re giving to your Swedish wife–and maybe soon to be ex-wife. But if you really want to get back with a vengeance, you’d give the same amount to Haiti, since the Haitian nation, independent since 1804, has been the bane of much of the white-male pseudo-aristocratic privilege that you’ve managed to simultaneously subvert and uphold.

I mean, to be real with you, Tiger, you might owe it to them. The magnitude of this most unfortunate of events has rightfully moved the post-ironic inanities of your dalliances with “Norwegian” and “morewegian” women out of the media’s spotlight. I hope you take advantage of this “alone time” to–as the great knight once said–“get back to were you once belonged.”

And where did you once belong? Well, I think it’s now safe to say that you once belonged to blackness. For better or for worse. I understand. Or as some rappers might say, I overstand. Blackness, my brother, is all inclusive. Hybrid terms that try to evade how society really sees you–even, yes, the woman who married you–hybrid terms whose names I care not to remember–do not slough the stigma, the projection. Blackness is external. You don’t choose it; It chose you. Just like your wife chose you. And we all saw what happened when you tried to hybridize that situation…

But, again. I understand. So does Obama. What you didn’t understand is that we can be many things in “truth”, but we must also own up to how society sees us, especially those of us who have money, good looks and/or swagger. I understand. To Fuzzy Zoeller you were la bête noire. To your “Norwegian” belle you were la (grande) bête noire. To me you are la belle bête noire. It’s all good. Be who you really are, whatever that may be; but also don’t eschew the negative stereotypes thrown against you. You must parry them. You must confound them. You must redefine them.

And by giving Haiti the exact sum that you break off to your “screen wife” you would be doing a lot to avenge your own indiscretions, and those of many other people colored, or tinged by otherness who try to forget their difference, or obfuscate it via a confused sort of “self-miscellaneization.” Again, Tiger. I understand.

Because Haiti is where we once belonged. Obviously, I don’t mean this literally, Tiger. But Haiti–like the Saramaka in my father’s Suriname–was once free, was an original good port in the ineffably “hybrid” black landscape of the Americas. Toussaint Louverture helped to forge a literal ouverture for an openly self-expressing blackness in the New World–of course, self-expression is culturally inevitable, even in bondage, but a nominally free African American Nation in the New World is tristfully rare. I encourage you, Tiger, to give your black “side” a symbolic ouverture. You’ve payed the “cauc-asian” and repaid it and paid it back, so let’s bring it full circle. Be all you can be. Be all you are.

Haiti was once part, I think, was once the solitary, shining jewel of a “free” Latin America. But then the Negrophobia set in. Consciously or not, the grand próceres of Spanish America worked quickly, assiduously to dis-engem Haiti from even belonging to the ostensibly inclusive brand of American latinitas. By the end of the 1800s, American race was fractured, Tiger, just like yours; there was North (White) America, Latin (White or “Mestizo”) America, and Black (Pan) America. For better or for worse, Black America–of which Haiti (and perhaps the Saramacca) was the capital–was able to permeate all the other spaces of American life, despite its abject exclusion from symbolic capital. You might object, Tiger, asking, “What about Cuba? What about Brazil?” And I say, “What about them?” What about Argentina, Perú, Uruguay, Nicaragua, México, Belize, Honduras, the United States, Canada, Québec, Colombia, Venezuela, Aruba? The list is endless. And most importantly, what about Haiti? Who are in the favelas? Who was on El Mariel? Did any of them look like Lil Jon?

This is why, Tiger, you must give Haiti as much money as you hand over to wifey. $300,000,000. It’s only fair. It’s only vengeance. It’s only putting that loot back where it belonged.

Thank you for your time. I must now get back to reading from a list of 19th-Century Latin American patriots. Everything else I do is extracurricular. I don’t know how to get back to where I belonged, but I do know that in the eyes of most, I’ve always been exactly there.

Sincerely,

WRG

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