Spaniard professional golfer Sergio Garcia was recently in hot water for a joking question about having dinner with his adversary, Eldrick Woods (better known as Tiger Woods), who happens to be black, not African-American, because he was born in Cypress, California, not in Africa, and said, “We will serve fried chicken.”
Everybody made a federal case out of an arbitration and Sergio Garcia later had to apologize for what he called a silly remark that in no way was meant to be a racist comment.
This is the first time I’ve ever heard something like that. Does anybody know the many times I have asked my dear black friends to join me at Kentucky Fried Chicken for a nice quiet dinner?
They have never complained and never felt offended. We all ate the fried chicken and we are still close friends. What does this mean – that black people don’t eat fried chicken, or that suggesting they do is a racist comment?
We have a Mexican restaurant (American-style Mexican, because the food they serve is not even close to true Mexican-style food) in almost every corner of our city. If I ask a person of Mexican descent to meet me for tacos and burritos, am I being racist?
Personally, I would never apologize for what someone else considers racist. I always believe that there is no word wrongfully said, but only wrongfully interpreted. I learned about racism from my own mother.
I remember when I was a child back in the ’50s and discrimination in Florida was a number one issue. We were standing waiting to place an order at a coffee shop when my mother noticed an old black lady waiting for a simple glass of water. The man behind the counter kept moving the lady aside with a shake of his hand. My mother asked to have a glass of water before placing her order. I still remember how she turned around and gave the glass of water to the old lady. The man went completely insane asking, “What are you doing? What do you think you are doing? We don’t serve blacks.”
My mother, who I always admired for her wisdom, said, “All living things need water to survive, and as far as I am concerned, this lady is a living human being.”
Needless to say, my mother never put foot in that place again.
Later on, when the Cubans who fought in the failed invasion of Bay of Pigs were in prison, the wife of one of them – who was also a Kindergarten teacher like my mother and worked at my mother’s school in Cuba – was visiting our home and called ahead requesting information on how to find the back door of the house because she didn’t want to cause any problems for my mother with the neighbors because she was (actually is, since she is still alive) black.
I heard my mother say: “No friend of mine enters my home through a back door.” We never had a problem with the neighbors. I consider myself a very good cook and honestly believe my fried chicken is much better than Kentucky’s. Would anyone imagine that if I invited my friends Parker and Dawn Leno over for a fried chicken dinner, that I’d need to start by explaining that I am not a racist?
Was Tiger Woods actually offended by the comment, or was that the reaction of the people around him kissing his rear end, trying to belittle Sergio Garcia by labeling him a racist?
Perly Viasmensky is the General Manager of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Perly Viasmensky, email her at pviasmensky@lasvegas tribune.com.