Donald Sterling is a buffoon. This does not mean that we should not take his statements seriously. He should be punished to the fullest extent. But I can honestly say that when I heard his comments, it did not ignite a fiery outrage nor did I feel a tremendous sadness. All I did was roll my eyes and whisper to myself, "here we go again." Another celebrity or mass media figure said something racist and will get all of our attention and condemnation, emerging unscathed for the most part, while institutionalized racism goes unchecked.
Let's face it. We have been here before. Countless times some racist guy or woman (hey Paula Deen!) gets caught with their pants down for saying some offensive words that they shouldn't have said. Remember our friend Don Imus, who had the temerity to call the women on the Rutger's basketball team "nappy-headed hoes," and "jigaboos?" He was lambasted by the media, fired from his radio show and then guess what? Came right back to radio and is still making money. How about Dog the Bounty Hunter aka Duane Chapman who was recorded using racist epithets? He was lambasted by the media, fired from his TV show and then guess what? Came right back to TV and is still making money.
These racist celebrities, the cowards that hide behind their computers and spew racist vitriol on comment boards for social media (or who knows, this article?), the KKK are all insignificant. Yes, they are loud, offensive and potentially dangerous, but they have no real effect on America. You can see their racist tendencies from miles away, and one can either take measures to avoid them or tackle it head on. But what really changes? Do you honestly think that Donald Sterling, an 80-year-old man who has been accused of racism before, is going to change because of talking heads calling for his team to be taken away from him? Most likely, the NBA will issue some sort of penalty, he will apologize, go away for a little bit and come right back to the NBA and continue to make money.
Instead of having this fervor and focus be dedicated to these nobodys, why don't we show more concern for the fact that my home state, Wisconsin, has an alarming disparity between white children and black children, which people will claim has nothing to do with racism. Or the ongoing gun violence in Chicago, another non-racist calamity. Even that ol' faithful program of New York, Stop and Frisk, which of course, has nothing to do with race.
Racism is a powerful, insidious force that has permeated through the fabric of American life and continues to thrive. It's easier to fight an individual than it is to fight an institutionalized system, but this is what is needed. Its always good to see a racist buffoon go down and feel righteous about it, but it serves little purpose, nor does it change much. Save your energy for racist policies and institutions. That is the real danger.