Usually on The Lookout I share my views on at least five stories concerning Black folks in the media but this week, all anybody is talking about is Donald Sterling — the hopefully soon-to-be former owner of the L.A. Clippers. So, I figured, my column this week had to focus on what we should really ‘Lookout’ for in Sterling’s comments.
As you know NBA commissioner Adam Silver threw the book at the longest tenured owner in franchise history Tuesday following TMZ’s release of a racist recording where — like a modern-day plantation owner — Sterling can be heard talking about his players as if they were his slaves.
“I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses,” he tells his Black and Mexican mistress V. Stiviano, who secretly taped him. “Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them?” he asks her.
But while much has been said about notorious slumlord Sterling and his long and undisputed history of racism– to include insults he made years ago about how his Black tenants “smell” and “attract vermin” – the issue is so much bigger than the words of a bigoted, 80-year-old man.
The real issue here is the “culture” that Donald Sterling represents.
He said it himself on that now infamous recording: “We don’t evaluate what’s right and wrong,” he explained to Stiviano, after demanding she not bring or be photographed with Blacks like NBA great Magic Johnson or L.A. Dodgers player Matt Kemp at his games. “We live in a society. We live in a culture …we have to live within that culture.”
Hmm, exactly what culture is Sterling speaking of?
While he may now be banned from the sport for life and fined $2.5 million dollars – a drop in the bucket in his nearly two billion-dollar enterprise — trust, Sterling is hardly alone.
In fact, the rest of his “culture” – a.k.a all the other people who feel like he does – are not only still out there, they’re busy drafting and enacting the laws that will continue to keep us legislatively enslaved.
That “culture” Donald Sterling speaks of is represented in the United States’ Congress, where Republicans like congressman Paul Ryan, John Boehner, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and Ted Cruz are working overtime to either push or support bills that will cut billions of dollars in food stamps – literally taking food out of millions of poor children’s mouths.
The “culture” is demonstrated in the Supreme Court where Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito recently scrapped section four of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, the provision that dictates which parts of the country must have changes to their voting laws cleared by the federal government or in federal court before they are made. In areas generally affecting whom, you ask?
You got it – Black folks.
The “culture” Sterling mentioned is evident with other team owners, most of them white men who rep a league made up of 80-percent Black players –who, in my opinion, moved too slowly to denounce Sterling. He made his position toward Black people very clear: “You can sleep with them, you can bring them in, you can do whatever you want,” he told Stiviano, echoing the good ol’ boy mentality shared by many. “The little I ask you is not to promote it on that [Instagram] and not to bring them to my games.”
In other words, “They’re cool as far as working for me … just don’t bring them to my house or allow them to date my daughter.”
The “culture” is the anchors at FOX News and those pulling the strings inside our police stations, federal and local courthouses, prison complexes and medical facilities. They’re the ones insides the schools teaching our kids!