So Donald Sterling decided it was his turn to be an idiot and admitted to saying some horribly degrading and utterly unacceptable racist statements about black folks. Unless you have been living under a rock you have likely heard about all the things he had said in confidence to his girl friend and how it managed to find it’s way ‘out there’ through TMZ. Just to sum it up: The NBA responded with light speed (once it was confirmed that Donald Sterling, had indeed, spoken those racist words to others) to mount a campaign justifying and satisfying a call for this guys head on a platter. And rightly so. It amazes me how someone could amass a fortune of over a billion dollars and yet be so stupid as to utter these thoughts so callously. And this is not the first time either. He has, apparently, been sued on at least two other occasions once by the Justice Department for housing discrimination and once by Elgin Baylor (ex- NBA great) for employment discrimination based on race and age. Now he is being fined 2.5 million dollars for this little faux pas–chump change to him really–and is being banned for life from any NBA business or personal activities connected to The Clippers. They are even trying to force him to sell his team. I doubt that could happen but his colleagues could refuse to do business with him and ‘squeeze’ him out that way. Who knows?
My point here is lets stop talking about this. Jesse Jackson has climbed out of where he has been to get his two cents into this. Nice photo op Jesse. The real message needs to be about needing all people to stop going around doing this to other people. But the longer we give this thing life the longer we are talking about the negative side of this ugliness. We need to be talking about the other side–the side that says the sooner we accept each other with grace, respect, and see each other through the lens of equality the less this will happen and the better off we will be as a society. As long as we keep talking about how awful this has been–and it has been just that, we also fuel the fires of anger, resentment and revenge. It polarizes us. Donald Sterling has been heard, tried, convicted and sentenced in the public court of opinion–as he should have been. Lets move on to other matters and stop giving him the spotlight he doesn’t deserve. All it is doing now is adding value to his franchise. He stands to make about a half billion dollars if and when it sells. Let’s not reward him for his ignorance and his no-lo class act.
However, that door swings both ways and so it should. It is not only ‘white’ folks who are guilty of racial remarks and no-lo class behaviour. There are many who seem to feel it’s OK to disparage ‘those’ people who are collecting welfare or who don’t want to work and would rather be homeless for instance. There are the groups who feel it’s OK to have and use pet names for white folks and have no trouble using those terms anywhere and at any time. The question does come up time and again as to why it is only ‘white’ folks who are racists or bullies?
Enter Shaquille O’Neal who is about to become or needs to become one of the ‘dumb-ass two’ that head this page. This is an event of similar, if not greater magnitude, if that’s possible, than the Donald Sterling episode. However, very little has been said about it in the media or anywhere for that matter. Apparently, on Shaq’s Instagram account, there was a picture posted of a young African American man who suffers from a disease called ‘ectodermal dysplasias’ which leaves the sufferer with reduced ability to sweat (which among other things helps people to cool off when overheated, missing teeth (which add to the problem of facial distortion), and fine to sparsely patched hair. If you view the picture below the face on the left is Shaquille O’Neals and the other picture is the young man with the disease. It is quite obvious that Shaq is mocking the young man’s appearance. I think that this action trumps Donald Sterling’s utterances hands down. True it appears that Shaq has since apologized to the young man but does he really believe that by apologizing all would be made right? Would he have called Mr.Binion if his public relations folks hadn’t told him that he needed to get out in front of this before it went any further? If the Donald Sterling mess stays front and center Shaq’s mess may not get the attention it deserves. That would be the most tragic outcome of all.
Donald Sterling’s behaviour has no place in our society. But what Shaq did was bullying-clear, plain and simple. It might not have been the intent but it sure was the outcome. It was also hurtful and childish. Perhaps Rev.Jackson will rush in again and be publicly critical of Shaq’s behaviour. Where is Oprah anyway? I thought she would weigh in on this one for sure. The biggest challenge now sits with the commissioner of the NBA–Mr. Adam Silver. Fair is fair. Mr.Silver was very quick, decisive and forthright in his previous response concerning Mr Sterling. Regarding Shaq will he be as quick, decisive and forthright? Should there be a life long ban on him from the broadcast booth? Should he have to give up his part ownership of the Sacremento Kings franchise? How about not being able to attend another Kings game? What is fair for one needs to be fair for the other. Otherwise the whole discussion around racism, bullying, what is good/appropriate for society and what is appropriate for an NBA star player is nothing more than protecting political correctness. Again. Or will it just be the ‘white’ guy who gets slapped down?
“If, as adults, we cannot demonstrate an appropriate standard of conduct for our children to model then how can we expect any more from them than what we are currently witnessing”–James Cloughley
Anyway, that’s how I see it, Jim
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