If you clicked on this article because you expected to read another 500-word rant against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, you may be disappointed. Like most others, I was appalled at the audio recordings of Sterling and the racist beliefs put forward by someone in such a position of power in America. And I was equally overjoyed at the stiff penalties NBA commissioner Adam Silver handed down on Tuesday, April 29.
Mainstream, national media coverage of the Donald Sterling incident is moving along as you’d expect. Everyone is expressing outrage and the only tweets shown on television are those from famous people and athletes who feel the same way. Internet articles offer a bit more perspective, but in general, Sterling is being ostracized, as he should be. However, internet articles and your own Twitter account show thousands of other opinions.
I am a white male who loves the NBA and I am definitely not racist. But as I read all the comments on Twitter along with the comments left at the bottom of internet articles on Donald Sterling, I realize that America is still divided along racial lines in 2014 a lot more that some may believe. Many people are pointing out that influential African-Americans, such as Al Sharpton and Jay-Z, have made racist comments with little or no backlash.
Another platform that gives the average citizen a voice is talk radio. On the way to work Monday morning in New Orleans, I was listening to WWL radio and the Donald Sterling audio was the topic of conversation. The vast majority of opinions were that Sterling has the right of freedom of speech and, as I mentioned earlier, the double standard that some powerful black people make racist comments with no repercussions.
The Donald Sterling audio and the reaction I’ve heard have convinced me of a stunning conclusion. Not only is racism alive and well in America, but I believe it is a cause that cannot be won. Much like prohibition and the war on drugs, eradication is impossible. I’m not saying strides haven’t been made. And the fight must go on. But I now see that there will always be a sizable minority of people of all colors who will always hate others not like them.
The real tragedy of America’s war on racism is that only one racial minority, African-Americans, has truly made meaningful progress. They have done so by promoting their cause effectively and not tolerating indifference. Consider that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is banned from the NBA for life, was fined $2.5 million, and he will likely be forced to sell his team because of comments he made in a private conversation.
Meanwhile, there is an NFL team in our nation’s capital called the Washington Redskins. Could you even fathom the volcanic outrage in the black community if there were still an American team with a name such as the Blackfaces? But because the Native American cause is such a small and silent effort, this racial atrocity continues in Washington D.C. For some reason, players have no problem suiting up for the Redskins, but the Clippers wore their warm up shirts inside out.
The only racial progress that takes place in America requires a force of will of unimaginable strength. And while the NBA rightfully acted swiftly and strongly to force a racist from its ranks, millions of Americans are not happy with how the situation was handled. Unfortunately, other minorities are still subjected to racism because their cause doesn’t have the funding and the vocal leadership of the black community.
John Lennon “imagined” a better world and Martin Luther King “had a dream.” Sadly, their visions of a better world were just that; dreams and imaginations.
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