Racism, a bad call
by Melyssa Brais on September 30, 2014 - 8:37pm
In their article published in New York Daily News on May 8th, 2014, “Donald Sterling apparently shocked to be called a racist in new secretly recorded conversation,” Nancy Dillon and Larry McShane expose Donald Sterling’s reaction to being accused of discrimination. Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was caught on tape having a conversation in which he puts down people of color, and, at one point, exclusively attacks Magic Johnson. It was understood that he did not appreciate his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, going public about her relations with African-Americans. In his defense, he claims that he is “colorblind;” that he feels nothing but love for all the people, and that it is not possible to be a racist in such a business. Additionally, Sterling refuses to give up the team, at least, without a struggle, while his wife, Sherry Sterling, does what it takes to keep her share of the contract.
When reading the article, what stands out to me the most is that the authors do not elaborate very much on their points; to me, these points almost looked like a list of facts. Every sentence seemed to introduce a new idea, but none were ever analyzed in depth. For example, Dillon and McShane begin their piece by mentioning that Donald Sterling does not consider himself as a racist. Rather than providing more detail, they skip to a new line and bring up a new idea, stating that his wife is trying to protect her share of the franchise, but still being very brief about it. Due to this, the text does not flow, and actually reads in a very choppy way. In addition, the authors used RadarOnline.com as one of their sources, which is not the most reliable one. It is a website dedicated to entertainment and gossip, which implies that stories can more or less be twisted to sound more interesting. On the other hand, the authors present in their article several important characters, such as Elgin Baylor, Jamal Crawford, Stiviano and others, and each were presented with a brief background that allows for a better understanding of who they are and the importance of their contribution, and that keeps the readers up-to-date. I also appreciated that many quotes were included in the text, often by Sterling; the information felt more authentic, and was just generally more captivating to read.
From the article, what I admire, and the opinion that I agree with the most, is the input of Jamal Crawford (an ex-Knick), who essentially chooses to overlook Sterling’s racist and ignorant comments, and to focus on what is truly important to him: being with his group of guys and pushing forward. He understands that some things, like the words that come out of peoples’ mouths, are out of his control; he, thus, believes that he should not worry and stress over them so much, as he would only be hurting and penalizing himself. Crawford demonstrated the act of being the bigger person.
Moreover, I cannot help but mention how silly it sounds to me that Donald Sterling claims to be “colorblind” in order to defend himself, as if thinking that it would make the issue seem less terrible. In fact, saying that one is colorblind only worsens the problem. As Jane Elliot would say, one who says he or she is colorblind is actually displaying that he or she is not at all colorblind because, if that was so, they would not feel the need to state that they are. The whole point, I believe, is not to be colorblind; it is to recognize the differences that exist amongst each other, and to completely see past them, as these do not define us. The point is not to see a person only skin-deep. What is so wrong about being different? If we give getting to know someone a chance, we might even come to realize that we are very much alike. In the very first documentary that we watched in class, students were asked to analyse their DNA sequences. One of the pale-skinned students had a DNA sequence that was one hundred percent identical to that of a citizen living in Africa, which was hard to believe because they looked so different on the outside. This is an example that just goes to show that we have more in common with each other than we think, and that we should not let the socially-constructed concept of race mess with our minds or influence our behavior towards others.
Dillon, N., McShane, L. (2014, May 8). Donald Sterling apparently shocked to be called a racist in new secretly recorded conversation. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/donald-sterling-shocked-cal...