Friday, December 4, 2009

Sticking Up For Tiger?!? Nah.

I don't know how ya'll were raised, by my folks taught me a spoken/unspoken rule of social etiquette called "Don't talk bad in front of company". In short, the gist is that you don't talk bad about other black folks in front of white folks. Yeah, I know it sounds antiquated, but given the fact that both my folks were raised in the Deep South, through segregation, school busing, water hoses, police dogs and the whole nine, it can be understood. The rule was simple: don't downtalk Black folks in front of "company", and don't just allow them to talk badly about another black person without at least providing a voice of reason. Simply put, we can talk badly about our own folks, but you can't.[1]

In some limited form, I've adapted the rule myself, and it seems to play itself out in some fashion everyday, whether at work, at the gym, or on the cul de sac. The rules is the rules, and I suspect that's why Barack Obama's approval rate among blacks remains sky high. Don't get it twisted, we'll pop sh*t about his various decisions all day in the barbershop (and blogs, which are the new barbershop if you think about it) with reckless abandon. Black folks are very, very critical of Obama, in ways that might shock some of ya'll just visiting. But when some mysterious white dude calls us during dinner, we're gonna take one for the team, and that team is called Obama.

Today, my boss was in town and treated all the team to lunch. Inevitably, the restaurant TV gets turned to ESPN, they're talkin' Tiger, and suddenly we're talkin' Tiger. Well, "talkin' Tiger" isn't accurate. It's more like "talkin' greasy about Tiger". I mean, everyone is absolutely goin' in on this dude, including a co-worker who keeps on mentioning how "he should have just gotten a hooker" to the point that I'm wondering just how this co-worker knows so much about getting hookers.

As we're heading back to the office, it occurs to me: not once did it bug me that we were all talking bad about Tiger. Not even a bit of guilt, or need to defend him. None. Whereas prior discussions with the same group of folks about Mike Vick, Kobe, and hell, even OJ (pre-Vegas) got really, really awkward, for Tiger, I had nothing. Nothing.

I wonder if I'm alone in this. How do ya'll feel?

Question: Does Tiger deserve your "take one for the team" sympathy? Do you generally practice some variation of the "don't talk bad in front of company" rule? Does it sometimes color how you discuss Obama around certain folks, and does it perhaps explain his still high 90% Approval Rating among blacks? White folks and others, do ya'll have similar social quirks, or is there no real need to "take one for the team", when you own the team?

[1] To my white readers, I know, this makes no sense and is a glaring double standard. True, but it is what it is. When you consider the historical context, it's easier to understand. If you still don't understand, might I suggest you click here.

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