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Tiger Woods, once the fresh-faced future of golf, stared into the police camera with a forlorn look and hooded eyes. A year-old man who has famously insisted on his mixed racial heritage was identified in the arrest report with one word: black.

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The former No. He was charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is scheduled for a court appearance on July 5. His attempted comeback has stoked widespread fascination with the drama of an iconic athlete battling age and injury in an attempt to regain his championship form. He is a person of color who conquered golf. He holds the record for most consecutive weeks,atop the world golf rankings. He won 79 PGA titles and 14 majors, putting him second all-time on each list.

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Woods won the Masters for the first time in at age 21, making him the youngest player to win there. He has gone on to win the tournament three more times.

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The analogy would fit nicely if only Woods saw himself as black. Or only black. But Woods, 41, has long chosen to embrace his full multiracial identity. Nobody can argue with his precision. His mother, Kultida, is of Thai, Chinese and Dutch descent.


In any event, he has explained that to call himself African-American would have the effect of writing his own mother out of his racial identity. There were jokes that Woods would know he was black if he tried to catch a cab at night. The criticism only intensified when Woods got caught up in the sex scandal that presaged his golfing decline and ended his marriage. Years later, the debate about racial identity ignited by Woods continues to resonate. Her mother is black and from Montserrat, a small island in the eastern Caribbean. Her father is Chinese.

Growing up in black neighborhoods in Brooklyn, New York, and South Orange, New Jersey, she had nearly all black friends and schoolmates.

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She listened to black music and considered herself culturally black. Yet, she also celebrated Chinese New Year and embraced both her Asian and black heritage.

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Yee explains that when she is asked to check a racial box, she chooses African-American. At the same time, she acknowledges that racial identity can be a tricky thing.

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Racial identity has long been both subjective and mutable. Barack Obama is biracial, and was raised by his white mother and white grandparents. But he will go down in history as the first black president in no small part because he identifies as black, married a black woman and raised two black daughters. Paris Jackson, the blond, blue-eyed daughter of the late Michael Jackson, recently told Rolling Stone that she thinks of herself as black, even if a casual passer-by might not.

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Coming up, he claimed both sides of his heritage. He would tell people he was black and white, or black and Irish.

Once he became a baseball superstar, he was romantically linked to a series of beautiful women, many of whom were white. Beginning inmulatto was the name the government ased to mixed-race African-Americans. A quadroon was someone who had one-quarter black blood, and an octoroon had one-eighth or less black blood.

But even people with just a drop of black blood might as well have been all black as far as the law was concerned. In its decision Plessy v. Fergusonthe U. Supreme Court ruled that the French-speaking and white-looking Homer Plessy could not ride in a whites-only rail car in Louisiana because he was an octoroon. The ruling cemented separate-but-equal as the law of the land for more than half a century. Those strictures have slowly given way, and in recent years an increasing of Americans are embracing their full identities.

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The census had 63 possible racial : six for single races and 57 for combined races. In2. Woods was a year-old prodigy when an interviewer asked him about his goals as a golfer. Woods answered that he wanted to be a superstar. I might be sort of like a Michael Jordan in basketball.

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Asked whether there was a tournament that he wanted to win once he turned professional, Woods did not hesitate. Seven years later, Woods won the Masters by a record stroke margin. His victory rocked the golfing world, and not everyone knew how to handle it. You pat him on the back and say congratulations and enjoy it and tell him not to serve fried chicken next year.

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Or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve. Woods has said he also faced racial hostility back when he started school in Orange County, California. On his first day of kindergarten, he said, a group of sixth-graders tied him to a tree, spray painted the N-word on him and then threw rocks at him. The former teacher has dismissed the storywhich Woods has recounted in several interviews, saying it never happened.

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Woods would refer to Sifford as his grandfather and went on to name his son, Charlie Axel, after the golfing pioneer. Is it because of his refusal to identify only as African-American? The National Golf Foundation estimated that 1. And there is also only one Cablinasian: Tiger Woods.