It's incredible to some, but routine for others. I'm referring to the comments made by LA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. There is little doubt that Mr. Sterling let his guard down and spoke what he really feels. However, it all depends on what side of the tracks, or in this case, income bracket, you live on to be surprised by his comments.
The majority of people of color living in this country are reminded of the inherent discrimination that exists on a routine basis. The racism that still persists in this country is very much alive and well and unfortunately flourishing. The problem is not too many people feel it, see it, or care to address it. The reason is that in this modern age it is concealed much better than the days of Jim Crow laws when people of color where forced to sit, eat, drink and sleep in separate quarters of this country.
In this day and age, the discrimination and sometimes-raw racism is camouflaged carefully into the fiber of our everyday life through laws, subliminal messages in movies and even in children's cartoons. The most glaring are laws that pass local, state and sometimes federal levels, but rarely make the national news to form the outcry that we have been seeing in the last two days over Sterling's comments.
How many people were shocked when the state of Arizona had legislators lobbying and eventually passed a law to allow police officials to legally stop people that "looked undocumented"? I don't remember national news coverage creating the same hoopla as what they are creating with this latest episode of racism in America? Perhaps the difference was that people thought that the only ones being affected by that ridiculous law in Arizona were Mexicans living in the State?
Very few nationally recognized organizations made the type of noise that needed to be heard to prevent racists in this country, whether hidden or open, know that this attitude is not acceptable. Thank God for the Phoenix Suns basketball team, which was one of the first to demonstrate their concern and disagreement with that law by purposely wearing "Los Suns" jerseys and making a team statement against the proposed law.
However, where was the rest of the NBA? Where were all the people of conscience, where were the sports headlines condemning Arizona? That's why it depends on where you are from and who is being affected and what news editors feel will help increase the ratings. A white, Jewish owner of a majority high profile majority black basketball team saying racist statement taped by a girlfriend is "hot news" and a lot of news can make a lot of changes.
However, where was Major League Baseball and why did they still play their internationally-aired All Star Game in Arizona? Many concerned people and organizations were urging Major League Baseball to move the game out of Arizona as a sign of protest against a law that was discriminatory. Major League Baseball, with almost a third of its baseball players being immigrants from a Latin America, definitely had a vested interest in standing up for its players. Unfortunately, Major League Baseball failed that moral test. That was sad, especially being a league that broke the color barrier in 1945 when Jackie Robinson became the first black player to play professional ball.
Fortunately, yesterday NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life from all NBA activities and levied fines of $2.5 million dollars.
Though this might not do much to stop the discrimination and racism that still roams the corporate and legal halls of this country, it does show that once exposed it can be detrimental to the perpetrators. It all depends on what makes the major news.