The media has brought to the mass attention, a recognizable face to bigotry and racism. Yes, Donald Sterling, the owner of the L A Clippers, has unanimously been pointed out and admonished for racist remarks he secretly relayed to his girlfriend on how he felt about African Americans, especially Magic Johnson. Sterling has constantly been targeted for discriminatory practices in his personal business affairs, but his latest actions have plummeted him to national attention and condemnation.
Although Sterling gave an interview to lighten public damage by trying to explain his stereotypical, racist and pre-established views, many felt he only dug himself into a bigger hole. He rationalized that he felt Blacks, as a whole, didn’t support each other in building an economic base. Many felt this was an attempt to feed his insensitive and appalling views concerning Blacks.
We all know conversations laden with racist comments are nothing new. If the truth were told, they are an ever-occurring practice in the segregated boardrooms and private meetings of wealthy powerful men of Eurocentric ethnicity controlling the wellbeing and direction of the general population. Since African Americans do not have an economic base, we are literally at the mercy of many men like Donald Sterling for jobs, especially in corporate America.
African Americans are not unaware of those who secretly rally to continue their secret agenda of oppressing people of color. We have a long tumultuously history here in America and know that many discriminatory policies and practices are subtly ingrained in our bureaucratic institutions and private industries, some owned and run by men with the same ideology as Donald Sterling. Of course many of these men will not blatantly express their racist views publically. However, I hope these men are not foolish enough to think that we as African American are blind to their hidden motives and practices.
While Donald Sterling is the man of the moment being scrutinized, it is inevitable that another racist will materialize replacing him—especially in these times with technology making private conversations public. Surprisingly, those making racist and derogatory remarks about our African Americana president, Barack Obama, have literally been given only a slap on the hand and downplayed by the media. Thus, you have a handful of politicians and people in the public feeling it is okay to blatantly manifest racially derogatory remarks.
Racist remarks are not exclusive to Whites only. You have people of color who may make racist remarks, but they are often reacting to experiences with people who have personally discriminated against them. Unlike many of those with racial views, Blacks (in general) are not in a position to put their views into action by denying someone a job, a loan, or access to housing. Many racists are in a position to control the economic, social, and political conditions of those they despise.
While freedom of speech is a constitutional right, the media must acknowledge its role in promoting racism by picking and choosing whom they want to denigrate. While some people may feel uncomfortable talking about or acknowledging racism, it is a real illness that is not going away anytime soon. Open dialogue is necessary to acknowledge this sickness, so we can realistically make concessions to eradicate its effects.
Generally, we are walking around tightlipped, refusing to address those people or policies undeniably contributing to discriminatory practices. African Americans are disproportionately affected and blindsided by loopholes and hidden practices in laws and policies that have adverse effects on them. African Americans are also aware that they are being exploited in the sports arena by many of those probably sharing the same feeling as Donald Sterling.
Donald Sterling may be the topic of conversation of the month, but he is far from being alone in his views. The old regime that harbored an environment promoting White superiority and racism is dying out. But they have set up traditional private institutions run by their children continuously supporting suppressive, discriminatory views. Racism is real and must be analyzed and addressed for us to go forward and be the great nation we aspire to be.