We have recently discovered the increased fascination the media has with Tiger Woods’s life. While in the past it has been more of a focus on his athletic talent, now the media is focused on his sexual prowess. I thought that the only stick that the media would be concerned with is the golf club he uses and not the one in his pants. How foolish was I? The media has engaged in an effort to try to reduce Tiger Woods to nothing more than his penis. The media wants to overlook Tiger’s great athletic skill and mental acuity to engage in a sensational exploration of his sexuality.
The last time that I checked it was not our business what Tiger does with his penis. It’s his penis and it does not belong to the media. If ever one wanted to know whether or not Tiger Woods is a Black man, the individual now knows that he is. All one has to do is consider the tremendous “news” coverage his penis has received. This fascination with Tiger’s love of women has a strong history that has to be explored. During slavery, the fascination with the Black male penis was shared by both White women and White men. The Black male body became viewed as useful for the slave labor it could produce and the entertainment value the Black male penis could generate for White people. Again, we have a media that is largely operated by non-Black people and a significant number of White people. I am, of course, not suggesting that all White people are racist. What I am suggesting, however, is there are still some racist White people living. Some of these racist White people are involved with the media. It benefits these individuals’ agenda to try to destroy the reputation of a man who is considered to be a Black man by many people. This probing into Tiger’s life is not about learning more about him as a golfer, but is more about discovering ways to exploit him as a Black man and to exploit negative perceptions, stereotypes, and stigmas about “blackness” and Black people, especially Black men.
One person who the public has not really thought about who has to be really suffering from all of this media coverage: Tiger Woods. Far too often, we, media consumers, are so eager to consume media’s sensationalism that we forget about the real lives that are being affected by this sensationalism. Wow! What a shocker–Tiger Woods is human. He has a problem that he needs to address. Guess what? The rest of us also have problems we need to address too. I wonder how many people are willing to have their lives examined in the way Tiger has had his life examined because of his problem of being faithful to his wife. Many men cheat but I have not seen such interest in one man’s cheating ever in my life. With so many important problems in the world, I will be glad when we begin to challenge the media about what it covers. What Tiger Woods does with his penis does not having anything to do with us.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison