Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Donald Sterling, Race, and Why I'm Still Asking Questions

Again.  It's happened again.  I suppose I shouldn't be shocked by this latest story, however I find myself walking around the house saying, "Hold on a minute.  What about....?" as I question the aspects of this story the media dare not touch.  So let me get this straight - Donald Sterling, owner of the LA Clippers and a man with a noted history of racist practices asks, of his 'girlfriend' in a 'private' conversation, if she needs to advertise the fact that she is hanging out with black people.  Did I get that right?  Am I also correct in assuming that the one little snippet we heard on the news (repeated ad nauseum) is only a portion of the conversation?  I think we can all agree the media would NEVER play just a portion of such an occurrence that might be out of context, right?   Now, before you crucify me for saying this was, in fact, out of context or that there could be a context where this was in any way right, please understand that I'm not saying that at all.  I'm pointing out that our friends in the media tend to edit as they will whether it's the 'whole story' or not.  Too, I want to state in bold print - I do not believe in racism, racist comments, or actions in any way, shape or form.  What I am trying to state is that there are other factors to this story that seem to have been overlooked...and we should be greatly concerned.  As a matter of fact, a good friend posted an article earlier today written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  The sentiments and questions he asks, and the overall tone of the article, struck me as these were very much the same feelings and questions I had.  Basically, he points out that, while we are angry, there are many people and many reasons for the anger - not just Donald Sterling and his racist comments.  Where to begin?  As Kareem stated, I have a list.

Let's start with the girlfriend.  You know, the one that is now seen on roller skates with a visor pulled down to cover her face.  Wait a minute, she had no problem showing her face in any pictures that are being broadcast nationally every hour, on the hour, on every network.  My first thought, after hearing the comments Sterling made and seeing the vast age difference between the two was, "Oh, she set him up to bring him down."  Something about a 'woman scorned' perhaps?  Who knows?  Not my business and doesn't affect my life one iota.  Still, let's be serious - do we really think she saw HIM and thought, "Wow, what a hottie!  I have to have him!"  Uh, no.  Seriously, we're all adults here so let's call it what it was - he lavished her with gifts & cash, while she stayed with him for....well, the gifts & cash.  I could be wrong of hands - who thinks I hit the nail on the head?  Put your hand down.  It was a rhetorical question.  

So, as Kareem said in his piece, "She was like a sexy nanny playing 'Pin the Fried Chicken on the Sambo'.She blindfolded him and spun him around until he was just blathering all sorts of incoherent racist sound bites that had the news media peeing themselves with glee."  He's right, of course.  And the news media loved it.  They had another instance that they could put on national news and bring down another white elitist for being a racist.  Are we really going to act like this episode is what should be the big deal, though?  Why weren't people outraged years ago when he paid almost $3 Million to settle a suit involving his discrimination against blacks & hispanics?  A picture of his girlfriend and his asking if she had to advertise she was friends with blacks is what brought him down?  THAT is what is getting Al Sharpton's panties in a twist? are a fews other things worth noting - The NAACP cancelled the award they were going to give him on May 15th.  Though we all know that part, what wasn't mentioned frequently, if at all, was that this organization, despite having full knowledge of his previous discriminatory acts, accepted multiple grants from the Donald Sterling Foundation, while giving him several, "Image awards," over the years.  NOW, we're outraged?  I'll bet if I look up the word 'Hypocrite'.......

My point is this - Sterling was wrong and, apparently, a habitual racist.  Why, 8 years after his massive lawsuit, are we letting THESE comments bring him down?  Why was he allowed to own the team then when, without nary a whisper from the press, he said, "black people smell and they attract vermin?"  I don't remember it being a story.  Did I miss something?  Seriously, in one day this guy received a lifetime ban from the NBA and has to sell his team (presumably) because he asked his girlfriend in a private conversation if she had to be seen with, and promote that she is friends with, blacks?  Wow, did WE miss the bus on the first go-round.

My other point is this - if Sterling has to play by the rules, EVERYONE has to play by the rules.  No longer should people of ANY race be allowed to say discriminatory things.  Racism will never end because the playing field isn't level.  As long as it is okay for people of other races to 'cry foul' when a white person says something, it won't end.  As long as, "I was only joking," is allowed to be uttered and accepted when someone of a different race makes a racial slur, it won't end.  It happens, folks.  To deny that is to be...well, in denial.  If we want change, we have to make the change for all.  I'd like to say that now is that time.  Sadly, that time came long ago.....and we're still trying to get everyone on the same page.

Until next time................