Point of View Columns

Casting the Second Stone

The controversy surrounding L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his race based rant is fascinating and in some ways difficult to understand. Of course, Sterling’s comments are reprehensible but considering that the Confederate flags still fly over state capitols where NBA franchises are located, it should not be a surprise to discover that some white people really don’t like black people. But if Donald Sterling is to be drawn and quartered for making hateful comments about black people, do black people who make similarly hateful and harmful comments about black people get a pass?

One could argue that enough has been written about a cranky old white man who debases himself before his too-young-for-him mistress of color. True, he does own an NBA franchise, and true, many black people play in the NBA. And true, there is nothing defensible about his comments about black people. Ergo, so the torch and pitchfork carrying media mob contends, Donald Sterling should be forced to give up his NBA franchise and live his remaining years wearing ashes and sackcloth.

But, as noted, this is a country where the stench of the slave holding Confederate States of America is still fresh in the breezes that blow Confederate flags above state capitols and state universities in too many places. This is a country where the first black President of the United States has been called a monkey, the AntiChrist, an alien interloper and a liar on the floor of Congress, all without consequence. And this is a country where black people are routinely barred from the corridors of power by unspoken rules of the road, not by a white robed Jim Crow, but by a  bespoke pinstripe suit attired James Crow 2.0.

So it should be no surprise when a white man (or woman), who is unaware that they are being recorded, tells us how they really feel about black people. And it certainly seems like the torch and pitchfork media mob and its enablers are more than a little disingenuous in excoriating Sterling while racism and horrific language are hurled at black Americans without consequence every day – by black people.

Donald Sterling is eighty years old. He could live another eighty years and never use the word “nigger” as many times as Jay-Z has. The only difference is that Jay-Z has “niggered” his way to an enormous fortune, seemingly without consequence and certainly with little or no criticism. Certainly Jay-Z has never encountered the withering firestorm of criticism from LeBron James, Charles Barkley, the Reverend Al Sharpton or the Reverend Jesse Jackson that the hapless fool that we know as Donald Sterling has experienced.

Jay-Z and Kanye West collaborated on the misogynistic and obviously racist “Niggers in Paris” album and the silence from the Sterling hangmen was deafening. The characterization and reference to black women as “bitches” and “ho’s” and worse has been part of the accepted culture of “artists” like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Little Wayne, Fifty Cent and so many more and nowhere has there been a call to boycott their lucrative “art” or to skewer them Sterling-style.

And let us not forget the less than memorable Cornel West and his anti-Obama rants, likening the first black President of the United States to a “lap dog”. And while Dr. West is entitled to his full exercise of free speech, his off the chain critiques of President Obama have given clear aid and comfort to the enemy. And yet, Cornel West continues to rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees based on the insults and calumny that he hurls at President Obama again, without consequence and certainly without receiving the Sterling Special Treatment.

There is nothing about Donald Sterling that is worthy of defense or further mention. The “art” of Jay-Z, Fifty Cents, Little Wayne, Kanye West and others have had a deep cultural and behavioral impact on the American black community, almost all of it negative and decidedly demeaning.

On his worst day Donald Sterling has never inflicted as much damage on the black community as the aforementioned crew and their running buddies. After the torch and pitchfork crew is finished with Sterling, maybe they will turn their attention to the real villains.


Point of View Columns

It’s the Same Old Song

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.