The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 16, 1997, Page 5, Image 5
J.J. HARDER On the green Woods' accomplishments an inspiration to all This weekend I experienced something that I knew would have historical significance. I saw a phenomenon on ESPN, on the news, in the paper and just about every where else. This phenomenon was not some peace treaty between warring nations or an asteroid heading toward Earth. It was a 21-year-old man who changed a sport in a way like no other has or probably ever will. Tiger Woods, a young golfer in his first pro year, won the most prestigious event in the sport; all in record-setting fashion. On the surface, this whole talk about Woods seems hugely annoying because golf appears to be such a dull game. For those who don’t like golf, I reply with the words of President Clinton: “I feel your pain.” I personally have never liked the sport, but everyone in the entire world should be able to appreciate what Woods has done. Forget that he's black and forget that he’s been playing since he could pick up a club — Tiger Woods has shown he will be the greatest golfer of all time by far. This revolution is more startling than Michael Jordan's feats in basketball and more amazing than Joe Montana’s accomplishments in football. Those athletes may legitimately be called the best in their sports, but Tiger has risen far above them. He has already done more for his game than they have combined. A popular commercial by his major sponsor, Nike, shows children of all sizes and colors saying “I am Tiger Woods,” with determination and dreams in their eyes. Not only is he making golf a sport that can be played by people other than overweight, middle-aged men, but he is inspiring children across the nation to grab a hold of whatever they want and change it so drastically that their names would be synonymous with their sports, professions or feats in general. Tiger’s explosion onto the golf scene is not sane fluke or freak show like “Happy Gilmore,” although they do both drive the ball about the same distance. The other players have already recognized that they are witnessing something that has implications not only for golf, but for the world. There’s a saying “You can do anything if you set your mind to it” :hat is thrown around all too often Matt Hanky/DN without any true meaning behind it. Tiger Woods lives that expression and should inspire us all. Harder is a sophomore broad casting major and a Daily Nebras kan columnist. Michael DONLEY Privileged demographics Difficult to avoid race, gender perception in America Yes, I admit it, (crime of all crimes) I am a white male. And with this status, I have been given privileges that those who do not share my gender and race are not granted. Many white males, myself included, will adamantly claim that it is not their fault. No matter who was originally at fault, the reality is this: In America it is a lot easier to be white and male than it is to be anything else. Let me show you what my race and gender have given me. inose more astute readers may notice similarities between parts of my column and the high-quality (and far more extensive) essay entitled “White Privilege” by Peggy McIntosh. White Privilege (also known as Majority Privilege) I can go shopping alone, or with other white males, and compare products for a considerable amount of time without being followed or harassed. I can turn on the television and see people of my race widely (and for the most part positively) repre sented. I can hang out in a public place with other white males and be assured few people, or more likely no one, will think we are a gang. Whether I use a check, a credit card or cash, my skin color will not count against me when people consider my financial reliability. If I do poorly on a test, the test results will probably be attributed to my lack of preparation, as an individual, not a result of my being a white male. If I do extremely well at some thing, I will not be looked upon as the exception to my race’s norm. I am never asked “So, what do white males think on this issue.” We made up the issue and the main stream view. Everyone knows how we feel about it. i can criticize inequality in our government, our college or any other social institution (even in an opinion column) without anyone assuming I do so because I am a white male. I can use slang and wear baggy clothing without people attributing my behavior to negative qualities existing within my race. (Though people may say that I am trying to be accepted by a different race.) If I am forced to interact with the police, as a white man, my race will not immediately work against me. If I am forced to interact with the police and I am obviously wealthy, the police will not automatically assume I earned my money illegally. Male Privilege I can catch any bus or shuttle on this campus at any time of the day or night without fearing for my safety. TWenty-five percent of my gender will not be sexually assaulted before their mid-20s. u I’m fairly certain that we can all agree, at least for the present, it is impossible to take race and gender completely out of _ our minds.” It is safe to assume no matter who I date or marry I will not be the victim of— or taper my actions because of—physical violence or the threat of physical violence. If I were to have 2,5 or 10 sexual partners this semester, I would not be called vulgar names because of my sexual conduct. If I were to be called vulgar names because of my sexual con duct, they would probably be meant as compliments (from other males at least). It would be practically impossible to force sex on me, whether on a date or in a parking lot. If I were to receive a promotion that was being competed for by members of both genders, my co workers would not attribute my promotion, in any way, to my gender. I have never even had. to think about where the blue emergency lights are located. So, I am pal of the majority in our male-dominated society, and I am far from perfect Sometimes when I’m in class and a particularly attractive woman is making a point in a discussion, I may think some thing like, “WOW, She is gor geous!” I will also listen to her ideas, but I’m not sure which is first. I’m fairly certain that we can all agree, at least for the present, it is impossible to take race and gender completely out of our minds. We were raised in a very race and gender conscious society. The most important thing white males can do is try harder to respect positions held by those who are different from us. We need to realize that we are the dominant force in American society. And more importantly, that this dominance affects less powerful groups. iiua i3 in* iu say uuu n is easy for us. White males still have to work very hard to succeed. And this success, even after a lifetime of hard work, is far from guaranteed. All people have to deal with the daily problems of life, and this can make it difficult to see the reality of the minority experience in the United States. The worse possible solution is to deny that there is a problem. Tensions will keep building, and one day the race and gender problems of this country may get out of hand. Donley is a sophomore philoso phy and sociology major and a Daily Nebraskan columnist.