Twelve years ago, on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Woods anointed himself with that most unfortunate portmanteau, “Cablinasian,” his childhood shorthand for his cultural roots. It sounded like an overly cute, intellectually frustrating code word for “I’m not just black.”
Most multiracial Americans try to embrace all our component ethnicities while recognizing that in the real world, frequently, what counts is the part that’s not white. “Cablinasian” was an epic fail by any standard except the one concerned with selling upscale golf attire to refugees of the identity politics wars of the ’90s.
Whether it was his own sense of self or a cynical pitch to a post-Mariah, pre-Obama audience looking for a relatable black guy to get down with—or both—Woods’ Cablinasian image made him seem unique. But while biracial people are indeed different, Tiger’s pre-post-racial vibe backfired because he apparently thought that it made him special. It turns out he’s just like everyone else—in the worst kind of way.
I wonder what they’d say about him now back home in Cablinasia?