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.

 

 

Reference

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...

Comments

Your post is very interesting! What really caught my eye was your title because it's a very intriguing way to bring up sports and racism. Furthermore, I think your summary was very well written because it gave me a very clear idea of what your article was talking about.
I completely agree with your post, especially the points you bring up in your last paragraph. For Donald Sterling to claim that he is "colorblind" he is in fact making the situation worse because it's as if he's refusing to accept differences among individuals. We should all be proud of who we are but by saying "I don't see color" I interpret it as putting down minority groups because we are denying them the freedom to embrace their differences, therefore not allowing them to be proud of the person they are. Donald Sterling even uses the discourse of denial as he says "it is not possible to be racist in such a business." As for the documentary on DNA, I think that just goes to show that "race" really is a socially and politically constructed concept and not at all based on biology.
Finally, I think it's really sad that Jamal Crawford had to overlook Sterling's racist and ignorant comments. I understand that we cannot control what other people say but instead of praising minority groups for being the bigger person in racist situations, should we not put more effort in stopping these racist comments in the first place?

Thank you! I think you bring up a really great point when you say that we are "denying them the freedom to embrace their differences." It really sums up the the fundamental issue about racism, which is exactly that - denying them of their freedom.

• I decided to comment on this post because not only was the title a great eye catcher since it has to do with basketball, but because the Donald sterling case had my attention from when it happen. As a black basketball player, I am obviously on the side against Sterling. I agree with your agreement that looking forward and focusing on himself (Crawford) is important. The only thing I would have liked is if you actually explained that part inside of your summary. It just seems as if you took that piece of information from another source. Looking forward is smarter than retaliating because, as discussed in class, retaliating only leads to bigger problems.
To add, you are right, we can't control what others say, but we can do things to maybe change the ways people think about things. This starts by 1. Not caring what people have to say, ignorance will never die. 2. Informing people about the realities and talking on sensitive topics to help them understand what things (discussed in class lectures) and 3. Have pride in who you are. Sooner or later, if one is comfortable in her/his own skin, then comments won’t bother self-esteem and eventually will stop. But, this post also makes you think, are people going crazy about it because racism is close to a myth? Or is it because people are just speaking their mind now and people do not know how to react? Many people are in denial about what minorities face and often blame minorities for their status in life.
But, that's just my opinion. Other than that I thought your post was very well done and thought out. Good job!

Thanks for your input! You bring up really good points about doing things in attempt to change the way that people think about things. As much as I said that it is admirable to try to overlook the negative comments, I also agree with the three points that you bring up because I understand that nothing will ever change if we don't stand up for what is right.