What I'm about to say will be very disturbing for many people, I understand. However, this recent outpouring of anger about Don Sterling, the owner of the Clippers, and what he was allegedly recorded saying by a woman he obviously trusted is sad and distasteful at best in my view. I for one am deeply tired of the conversation around race in this country which seems to work like a hamster wheel. It goes around and around but never makes any progress. I have searched my soul and heart for a remnant of anger or rage left in me and I cannot find any.
Last year when 12 Years A Slave was being celebrated as one of the best movies of the year, there was a prominent and clear complaint among African American claiming to be done with slave themed Hollywood films. This recent incident with Don Sterling, has me feeling similarly to those who were unwilling to support the Oscar-winning film.
If Mr. Sterling is the face of a racist in contemporary America, then I'd like to point out that his is a dying breed. More than ever, our population is comprised of an enlivened, intelligent mass of people who realize the world is changing and are working to make their mark through advancements in art, technology, spirituality and a variety of other fields. The world is changing so rapidly before our very eyes, why spend precious time focusing on what once oppressed us? I'm not suggesting that Americans ignore their history. Of course we need to be aware of what has come before, of our family legacies and or our nation's evolution. But when we look back at such difficult times, we should not do so with the purpose of blaming and fueling unhappiness, but with the purpose of honoring of what was endured so that we might fly all the more joyously today. Furthermore there are more pressing issues that really impact the strides of African Americans, such as voting rights, access to education and jobs.
As I listened to the infamous Sterling recording, I was taken by how weak he sounded, and overly concerned he was with appearances. I found it interesting that a man who seems to have so much wealth and power could sound so fearful and confused. This serves to prove that when we focus on things that build us up in the world of effects, we make no gains in our personal inner strength, in our true empowerment, or in being loved.
I don't care about racists. What I do care about is the human experience and our endless opportunities to grow. I care about how the pain we endure can cause us to be more loving and true to ourselves. And I care about how as a people we started our journey at the bottom, and now, using the creativity and strength that make me proud to be human, we're here. Finally, I care how we might duplicate the successes and advancements of all those African-Americans who are able to create a flaming determination so hot, it incinerates any obstacles they may encounter, pushing them higher than the generations before. I know this determination is what made this nation what it is today.
In a recent interview with Oprah, Pharrell Williams described the "new black" as those who don't define themselves by the old experiences of their history, but who decide for themselves what being black means, choosing within their hearts who they are. I am that. I am the new black, who looks at those like Don Sterling and his girlfriend and think, "I ain't got time for that, yawn." I'm too busy creating myself according to what feels good and free while being with people who feel the same.
If Don Sterling is the face of racism, then I'm thinking the crabs in the bucket theory, has more power than we care to admit.