It is interesting to note that racial slavery in America was around for a longer time (approximately 240 years) than black Americans have lived in a state of presumptive emancipation (approximately 150 years). So it really should not be a surprise that the virus of racism has not been eliminated from the blood stream and consciousness of this country. And that is why it is surprising that people are “shocked” by Donald Sterling’s mindless and malignant statements.
Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the National Basketball Association knows that Donald Sterling is a Grade A knucklehead and a horrible owner of a professional sports team. Any semiliterate person with a pulse in Los Angeles knows that he is a racial troglodyte who believes and accepts white superiority in the same fashion that he believes in and accepts the law of gravity.
Certainly the other 29 owners of NBA teams are well aware of the bigoted stench that accompanies Donald Sterling whenever he walks into a room. Yet not one of these 29 billionaires ever suggested that he was a problem until the now viral Sterling recording made the rounds.
Certainly the players and coaches in the NBA just had to know how bad a person Donald Sterling is – his sexism, racism and racist housing practices are a matter of very public record. Yet not one NBA player, black or white, has ever hesitated to pick up the multimillion dollar checks that the Los Angeles Clippers have been handing out for decades.
Perhaps what is most disconcerting about the Sterling Situation is that so many people profess shock and outrage regarding statements made by Donald Sterling while they remain mute or muted when equally offensive or even worse language is flooding the airwaves and cyberspace.
After all, Donald Sterling may be the billionaire owner of a basketball team and controls some real estate properties in Southern California. But Congressman Paul Ryan is one of the leaders of the Republican Party, the party that controls the United States Congress and is seeking control of the United States Senate in November as well as the Presidency of the United States in 2016.
Paul Ryan is a man of real influence and what he says matters – a lot more than any mindless drivel dribbling out of the mouth of Donald Sterling. And when Paul Ryan says that “inner city males” do not come from a culture of working, he demeans and diminishes African Americans in a way that is far more harmful and far more dangerous than anything found on the Sterling Tapes.
That is because Paul Ryan can actually implement policies and legislative initiatives that will be based upon his callous and shockingly exaggerated mischaracterization of African American males. These draconian and punitive policies will be justified by this wrongful and stereotypical portrayal of black men and people will truly suffer.
Yet there has been no hue and cry regarding Paul Ryan’s statements. There have been no demonstrations or proclamations that “racism has no place in the U.S. Congress”. Instead, because Paul Ryan has put some rhetorical lipstick on his racist pig, he is treated as a statesman engaged in honest policy discussion instead of being reviled for the closet racist that he is.
Certainly Donald Sterling deserves the entire tsunami of revulsion that has washed over him. But it is important to remember what is important in this world.
A cranky basketball team owner spewing racist sewage is unpleasant. One of the leaders of the Teapublican Party operative who is third in line to the presidency slinging racist mud while blowing on his racist dog whistle is not only unpleasant, it is dangerous and should not be ignored — ever.