I don’t want to talk about Donald Sterling. I don’t. I will though, because this story is deeper than what has recently been publicized. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has banned Donald Sterling from any association with the league and reportedly fined him $2.5 million, following remarks that Sterling made to V. Stiviano, a woman identified as being Sterling’s girlfriend.
Let’s overlook the fact that Donald Sterling is married and Mrs. Sterling is accusing Stiviano of sleeping with her husband. That’s not an issue at all *insert sarcastic facial expression here*. Many people have been out for blood for several days now, declaring that Donald Sterling is a racist and should burn at the stake. Yet, the recordings of his conversation with Stiviano tell a different story. Sterling says to Stiviano, “People feel certain things. Hispanics feel certain things towards blacks. Blacks feel certain things toward other groups. It’s been that way historically, and it will always be that way” (Deadspin.com). He then goes on to say that’s the way his culture operates. It’s not a good thing to associate with black people publicly in Sterling’s world and for some strange reason, Stiviano couldn’t seem to grasp the fact that even though she is biracial, she should not publically associate with black people. Sterling advises her to disassociate from the parts of her that are genetically black and pass herself off as a “delicate White girl or a delicate Latina girl.” After all, that’s what is expected of her in Sterling’s circle. However, Sterling strongly affirms that he does not want Stiviano to hate any group of people. He insists that she love them as she says she does, but love them privately.
I listened to the conversation intently and what I gathered was that Sterling’s lady friend made him look bad in front of his friends. Someone must have approached Donald with a his/her phone in hand and said, “Hey Sterling, isn’t this your friend-girl with a black guy?! What’s the deal with that?” As far as Sterling is concerned, it seems that he wouldn’t care what Stiviano does as long as he isn’t ridiculed because of it. That doesn’t sound so racist, does it? Not wanting to be made fun of because of someone else’s actions is normal, right? Donald Sterling got banned from the NBA for it though. We live in a world where dignified people simply can’t express their sentiments if it’s about race. I thought this was America!
Sterling is right. We live in a world that has racial divides, and who are we as individuals to try and make a difference? Is it right to judge someone based on who we choose to associate with? Adam Silver’s actions say yes, it is right for us to condemn someone for choosing not to associate with a person of another race. Donald Sterling has the right to conform to the culture that he believes he lives in. No one wants his/her friends to ridicule them and no self-respecting man wants to be embarrassed by his mistress.
How can we get upset about Donald Sterling’s comments? He has rights, doesn’t he? If he were not a millionaire, would we care what he thinks about is lady friend and her Instagram page? Absolutely not. The real issue is that the rest of us out in La La Land seem to value the NBA more than we value human beings and equality. You and I both know that racism is real and alive and the only thing that banning Sterling will change is the lengths to which people will go in order to keep their personal opinions a secret. Wake up people! The NBA can’t afford to alienate the consumers that fund the league. Banning Sterling, an already unpopular figure, saves the NBA money and helps Adam Silver to keep the league from suffering further damage to its image. The plantation that is the NBA will continue to thrive.
In this day and age, it is illegal to own slaves. No one can own another human being. Two legally married people can own one another’s stuff, but they can’t own each other. It is also illegal to beat another human being, unless they agree to being beat and have full cognitive functions to be able to agree to such a thing. On the other hand, the law does not keep people from owning your mind and your thoughts. It is not illegal to pay you a fraction of what I stand to make off of you. If you think, for one second, that Donald Sterling is the only somebody involved in the NBA that believes the things he discussed with Stiviano, then you’re living in an opaque bubble. The fact that the entire NBA has not shut down is an indication that no one really cares that much about what Donald Sterling had to say and no one really cares enough to boycott the NBA.
There was once a time when activists wanted all or nothing at all. Civil Rights Activists didn’t settle out of court. If equality was what they sought, then they didn’t stop fighting until equality was what they received. So, if you are up in arms about Donald Sterling and you lay down your weapon because he was banned for a lifetime, then be prepared to be stabbed in the back. Like Sterling said, there is an entire culture behind this issue, and Sterling is not the only guy guarding the color lines. I don’t want to see the Clippers team, or any other team, suffer because of how the team owners feel or what they might say, but those of us fighting to blur the color lines and close the wealth gap can’t be satisfied with victory in one battle.
Don’t attack Sterling for these statements to Stiviano. The man has a right to feel what he feels and he has the right to the freedom of speech. If he sells the Clippers, then he stands to make upwards of 200 million dollars. He was only fined 2.5 million. So, you tell me who lost. I urge you to see the forest and not be distracted by this one tree. Keep learning all that you can possibly learn and use your powers for good, not evil. Love your neighbor and find it in your heart to support your neighbor’s success. Attack this “culture” that Donald Sterling refers to at it’s root. Put money in the hands of people whose integrity and values are honorable and support the people that support you. Otherwise, you’re a part of the problem and you should be banned from a just society and fined for being an accessory to bigotry and racism.