LA Clippers’ Donald Sterling and the future of racism

posted at 12:31 pm on April 27, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

It’s apparently been a banner week for those who enjoy writing about racism in American culture. Hot on the heels of the dust-up over recorded comments by Cliven Bundy (still under dispute in various forums) we now have a an alleged recording of some rather blunt statements by LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling. A tape has surfaced which allegedly contains inflammatory comments he made to his ex-girlfriend.

TMZ has released audio of the owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers franchise, Donald Sterling, making racist comments in a conversation with a former girlfriend (click above to listen). It’s not immediately clear how the tape surfaced, though its provenance almost surely involves the ex-gal pal. As TMZ summarizes the contents:

This is already prompting calls for the league to relieve Sterling of his ownership position. The transcript is available at the TMZ link above, so there’s really no point in embedding it all here. Before going any further, though, it’s worth noting that the Clippers’ home office has initially denied the authenticity of the tapes. It also merits mention that the ex-girlfriend in question has already – again allegedly – lifted some serious cash from Sterling and the antipathy between them could be a factor, at least until the authenticity of the tapes is settled once and for all.

But the Sunday morning talk shows were all over this, being quick to draw comparisons between Sterling and Bundy, as well as the overarching story line of racism being alive and well in America and in need of additional government attention during election season. This is very common, but even if you accept the accusations against both men at face value, they may provide a useful example of a different message.

What do Bundy and Sterling have in common? First of all – aside from the obvious fact that they are white – they are old. And I don’t mean old like me… we’re talking really old. And second, each in their own way are old men who live in a form of isolation. Bundy lives in a geographically isolated, rural region. Sterling lives in the rather insular world of the very wealthy. They also come from a different generation, growing up among attitudes which were common beyond notice in their day but which would probably shock many people today. Without going into graphic detail, I’ll just say that I can relate to that, being raised by a member of that same generation in a rural, farming area.

I contrast this with much of what I see today and at the risk of offending all of the usual race card players in the political arena, I have to say that people who live in the same bubbles being describe here are dinosaurs, and the world has largely moved on and left them behind. Anecdotally, I recently attended a conference of conservative writers in DC with a number of young, aspiring activists. They and their friends painted a very different and multicultural picture than that being described in these stories. Groups of all colors and both genders were working together and not only was it not strained or tense, but race and gender differences didn’t even seem to be noticed.

I’ve noticed the same thing hanging out with a couple of my nieces and nephews – twentysomethings working in a variety of fields. Their circle of friends is such a diverse mix that they could be the cover photo of a progressive magazine. Questions of racial differences seem to be a foreign concept to them. This is not to say that there aren’t any areas where more segregation exists along community and economic lines, but we seem to be raising a generation of young adults who simply don’t fall into these old pigeonholes and are more interested in the joint challenges they all face in today’s society.

Is actual racism completely dead in America? No… I’m not saying that. But from the looks of things out on the street it’s dying a natural death. I wouldn’t read too much into the comments of septuagenarians who grew up steeped in a different culture.

UPDATE: (Jazz) As is being pointed out repeatedly in the comments, there are two other items of interest. One, Sterling is up for an NAACP lifetime achievement award. The second is that he is apparently also a significant Democrat donor. One has to wonder how much that will tamp down the media coverage of this story.


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KyMouse on April 28, 2014 at 10:31 AM

I’m not outraged. I am kind of amused. Let’s not forget that Bill Clinton likened Obama to someone who would be serving him coffee a few years ago. The Left is in their own world and it’s interesting to see when one of their actually gets caught up in their own tactics. I feel sorry for Mr. Sterling on so many levels.

Cindy Munford on April 28, 2014 at 10:37 AM

davidk on April 28, 2014 at 9:56 AM

This is another one of those situations where there are no heroes. Taping him was illegal and the girlfriend is, to put it politely, a little sketchy. Free speech is indeed a wonderful thing and as most of us know, there are consequences.

Cindy Munford on April 28, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Yes. There are no clean hands in this whole mess.

And as hypocritical as Al Sharpton is, if we wants to plan a boycott he is well within his rights.

But the government has no business telling someone to shut up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWHgUE9AD4s

davidk on April 28, 2014 at 10:54 AM

I’m not without sympathy for the argument that there are times when someone is too easily called a racist. But I’m also aware of the fact that these issues actually do still exist in our present day society. Really, they do. Really.

verbaluce on April 28, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Wolf!

davidk on April 28, 2014 at 10:59 AM

And no matter what Mr. Bundy’s views on the history of Blacks in American, he did not deserve to have a police action against him when the government has so many many more options.

Cindy Munford on April 28, 2014 at 10:33 AM

Well of course the ‘police action’ had nothing do to with his thoughts on race or American history – that was because of stealing.
And of course that action followed an exhaustive attempt at many other options. I really wish you could consider more how patient and responsible the police were in all of this – and how reckless and incendiary Bundy and his militia fans were.
On his musings on ‘negr#s’, you noted how we all know older folks who say things just as stupid – and we collectively cringe at that.
But we don’t hand them microphones.

verbaluce on April 28, 2014 at 11:00 AM

verbaluce on April 28, 2014 at 11:00 AM

And I would ask you to consider why that patience ran out at this particular time? The government could have put a lien on his property but they decided a show of force against the last man standing was the best option. Why? Is that the government you want?

Cindy Munford on April 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Well of course the ‘police action’ had nothing do to with his thoughts on race or American history – that was because of stealing.
And of course that action followed an exhaustive attempt at many other options. I really wish you could consider more how patient and responsible the police were in all of this – and how reckless and incendiary Bundy and his militia fans were.
On his musings on ‘negr#s’, you noted how we all know older folks who say things just as stupid – and we collectively cringe at that.
But we don’t hand them microphones.

verbaluce on April 28, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Oh, please. The federal bureaucracy was purposely making it impossible to be a rancher in the area. Bundy is – and has – been perfectly willing to pay reasonable grazing fees. He’s even willing to pay the disputed amount to the state of Nevada. Every other rancher in the area was driven off the land by the feds. Meanwhile solar companies are free to destroy tortoise habitat, so apparently Bundy’s biggest mistake was not retaining the services of Harry Reid’s son.

But maybe you can point us to the governments tireless and militaristic efforts to extract the billions of taxes owed by federal bureaucrats? Or the massive efforts the government has gone to extract owed taxes from Democrat Congressmen (and prosecute them for violating other laws to make money)?

gwelf on April 28, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Is it illegal to be a racist? I am not that versed on all the laws, but being racist, even as brilliantly racist as this guy should not be illegal.
I understand somewhat the hate laws…but then again, not really…since any crime against another person is based in hatred of some sort. But speaking and thinking in itself isn’t a crime…at least the last I understood our freedom.
If it is a crime, what would prevent others from simply proclaiming you a racist and then the burden to remain a free, working American would be at your cost.
For instance…the writer of The Bell Curve was labeled as a racist. Would not most researchers begin to be afraid to undertake any study IF they would be subjected to the random accusation of racist?

trailertrash on April 28, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Glad to see the God-Blessed Free Market at work.

Private owner of a company gets caught hating on the very same folks he employs. Backlash ensues and his business will probably suffer financially because of his actions. Free Market, and stuff.

Where the hell do you FIRST AMENDMENT!!!! people get your ideas? No one trampled on his 1st Amendment rights – they’re just reacting to them. Way to show your convenient application of the idea of free speech.

Seems a lot of folks here don’t disagree with his statements at all…. that’s called showing silent support for what he was spouting off about. Bundy-ites of the world, unite! :)

atheist on April 28, 2014 at 9:15 AM

The “free market” is an instrument of slavery, based not entirely on race, though it does enslave a disproportionate number of minorities.

As for the freedoms enshrined in the first amendment, they are fine for a genuine communist society, or even one in an advanced stage of socialism. In fact, during capitalism’s progressive phase, they were arguably one of its greatest achievements.

However, as Marx, Engels, and later Lenin and Trotsky, understood, the press in the hands of the capitalist class has historically been used as a weapon against the proletariat. As a result, the first amendment should not be supported by the working class at this time, except in the limited context of protecting the free speech rights of socialist parties. Supporting the freedom of speech as a general principle applied to individuals is dangerous and counter-productive; typically, the pathologically individualist classes benefit the most from an “individualistic” view of free speech.

During the struggle to destroy capitalism, and in the midst of the inevitable reaction following said destruction, the press must be understood primarily as a weapon, not a right, and as such, it must be denied to those who would oppose progress.

Trotsky on April 28, 2014 at 11:24 AM

I would presume that the Clipper players will not accept their paychecks/money from a racist white guy….Right?

rjoco1 on April 28, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Like the other poster said, what ever happened to freedom of speech?

At any rate, this is typical hypocrisy from those who are so “offended” by what the Clippers’ owner said. It’s not so much what was said; it’s who said it that matters. If Charles Barkley had said the same thing, this wouldn’t have gotten a single notice.

Bob Davis on April 28, 2014 at 11:37 AM

The government could have put a lien on his property but they decided a show of force against the last man standing was the best option. Why? Is that the government you want?

Cindy Munford on April 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM

I just don’t see that here.
The ‘government’ and the BLM folks acted almost exactly opposite of the ‘jack booted thugs’ caricature some want us the believe.
Bundy was always a bad example and his case always a bad one for anyone looking to build a narrative of government overreach or excessive force.
He’s spent 20 years demanding some special treatment beyond the subsidies already afforded to him (by your tax dollars) from a government he doesn’t even recognize.
Just an odd ‘hero’ or cause to champion for conservatives.

verbaluce on April 28, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Supporting the freedom of speech as a general principle applied to individuals is dangerous and counter-productive; typically, the pathologically individualist classes benefit the most from an “individualistic” view of free speech.

During the struggle to destroy capitalism, and in the midst of the inevitable reaction following said destruction, the press must be understood primarily as a weapon, not a right, and as such, it must be denied to those who would oppose progress.

Trotsky on April 28, 2014 at 11:24 AM

This is also absolutely true. Freedom of speech is incredibly dangerous and counterproductive to all tyrannical movements attempting to stifle “individualistic” political freedom. In the struggle to destroy the property rights essential to political freedom, any tyrannical movement must regard the press as a weapon, not a right, to be denied to those who oppose progress toward tyranny.

fadetogray on April 28, 2014 at 11:40 AM

verbaluce on April 28, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Liar and fool.

Schadenfreude on April 28, 2014 at 11:51 AM

verbaluce on April 28, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Liar and fool.

Schadenfreude on April 28, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Inane and hello.

verbaluce on April 28, 2014 at 11:58 AM

verbaluce on April 28, 2014 at 11:38 AM

He is not my hero but armed government overreach is villainous. They have a quiver full of recourses and this was not the smart choice. I think it is safe to say that ultimately, they agreed.

Cindy Munford on April 28, 2014 at 12:13 PM

In response to the Sterling scandal, Larry Johnson is calling for an all black league. Brilliant! The NBA has a lot more work to do than they think.

HueMoss on April 28, 2014 at 1:13 PM

HueMoss on April 28, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Maybe they can get Mr. Barkley to spit on him.

Cindy Munford on April 28, 2014 at 1:28 PM

‘negr#s’, you noted how we all know older folks who say things just as stupid – and we collectively cringe at that.
But we don’t hand them microphones.

verbaluce on April 28, 2014 at 11:00 AM

OMG has that become the new “N” word. D@mn, I can’t keep up anymore.

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 1:37 PM

However, as Marx, Engels, and later Lenin and Trotsky, understood, the press in the hands of the capitalist class has historically been used as a weapon against the proletariat. As a result, the first amendment should not be supported by the working class at this time, except in the limited context of protecting the free speech rights of socialist parties. Supporting the freedom of speech as a general principle applied to individuals is dangerous and counter-productive; typically, the pathologically individualist classes benefit the most from an “individualistic” view of free speech.

During the struggle to destroy capitalism, and in the midst of the inevitable reaction following said destruction, the press must be understood primarily as a weapon, not a right, and as such, it must be denied to those who would oppose progress.

Trotsky on April 28, 2014 at 11:24 AM

I could never tell you just how much I look forward to hearing more of this. :)

Axe on April 28, 2014 at 1:38 PM

verbaluce on April 28, 2014 at 11:38 AM

How much did the government reimburse Bundy for all the cow chips they left behind? That’s some expensive fertilizer there.

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Negroes

Testing

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 1:50 PM

yup. it blocked it.

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Caucasian crackers. Whitey.

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Honkey

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 1:52 PM

hey, this is fun.

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Well, gotta go, this polack and his dego wife need to head out. More probing later.

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 1:55 PM

OMG has that become the new “N” word. D@mn, I can’t keep up anymore.

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 1:37 PM

I understand the mod filter clocks.

verbaluce on April 28, 2014 at 11:38 AM

How much did the government reimburse Bundy for all the cow chips they left behind? That’s some expensive fertilizer there.

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Sounds like a Hannity rationalization/defense.
It’s like excusing bank robbers because they made available more vault space….’for free!’.

verbaluce on April 28, 2014 at 1:55 PM

that statement alone reveals a complete lack in the understanding of the value of that shyt.

Go check out the price of a bad of milorganite at Home Depot sometime.

I can get it for you in smaller quantities if you wish.

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Also, has it ever dawned on you, why, historically, leaving a field fallow every 3 years led to better yields?

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 2:13 PM

There is a reason why Marx said “Workers of the world, unite.” Trotsky on April 27, 2014 at 9:07 PM

Huh, I thought it was “wankers.”

Akzed on April 28, 2014 at 2:14 PM

While they are getting Sterling they should give equal time to Spike Lee who is nothing but a black racist and never gets called for it

HAGGS99 on April 28, 2014 at 2:28 PM

No matter who said the words on the tape they are hateful. If it is proven or admitted that it is Sterling I have one question. Should she be able to profit, or he be punished for an illegal act? I believe CA is a two party consent state for wiretapping. If he did not know he was being recorded SHE broke the law. He is still an D-Bag either way.

cpomustang on April 28, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Oh verb, don’t go away in a huff. But here’s one for you.

Read the 2nd paragraph

http://www.allaboutwildlife.com/american-wildlife/restoring-bison-to-america/4592

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 2:43 PM

And the recent move by the NBA to have him “sell” the team to Magic has the hint of a setup by two of the key players. After this scandal does the NBA want to have the guy who was hanging out with the owners mistress, and specifically named in these rants, suddenly become the new owner? That doesn’t look suspicious at all?

cpomustang on April 28, 2014 at 2:45 PM

What am I missing here? Did this Sterling commit a crime? Why should I care what he says to his mistress, and why should what he says to his mistress have any bearing on his ownership of a sports team? Was he soliciting a crime?

claudius on April 28, 2014 at 3:23 PM

I’m not much of a racist though I do know the words and thoughts, a part of being raised in a southern atmosphere. But I do miss the days of Gail Goodrich and Jerry West, with four white guys on the same team playing at the same time and the same for the other team.

For me it all went to the poops when Kermit Washington busted Rudy Tomjonavich’s jaw.

Willys on April 28, 2014 at 3:25 PM

So, who’s opinion am I now entitled to?

claudius on April 28, 2014 at 3:35 PM

What, no outrage over the violation of free speech? Of secret recordings immediately sold to TMZ?

All the outrage is laughable. It wasn’t that bad to me. Simply asking her not to post pictures of her race of choice on Instagram?

I hope he has kicked her to the curb, so she can go back to turning tricks to support herself…

stacman on April 28, 2014 at 3:52 PM

Oh verb, don’t go away in a huff. But here’s one for you.

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Never.
That’s not how you left, is it?

verbaluce on April 28, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Well, time for an Emily Litella moment for a lot of us. Never mind….

He’s a Republican.

I haven’t read through all the comments yet, but has anyone yet mentioned that National Review updated the original post, noting that Sterling is actually a registered Republican, since ’98? See the Update at the bottom of the post:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/376641/racist-clippers-owner-donald-sterling-has-only-contributed-democrats-tim-cavanaugh

He did give a few thousand dollars to the campaign of former NBA star Bill Bradley, a Democrat, back in the early 90′s. And he also donated to Democratic Governor Gray Davis, again back in the 90s.

But for the last 16 years, he’s been a Republican, and he is a bigot. That really can’t be denied.

I really don’t see how his political leanings matter much, unless you only view character through the lens of partisanship.

Just thought I’d add some facts.

PhotographerDave on April 28, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Never.
That’s not how you left, is it?

verbaluce on April 28, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Never.

I have a real life.

but milorganiting on liberals is a pastime I cannot refuse.

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 7:08 PM

PhotographerDave on April 28, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Wow. I am having a tough time finding out if Marge Schott was a democrat or republican. That usually turns out one way. Any insight?

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 7:19 PM

Marge Schott – $19,000+, all to Republicans

claudius on April 28, 2014 at 8:13 PM

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/donald-sterling-made-donations-to-dems-106079.html

OK. Thank You. Seriously. But, Gray Davis. Bradley. Leahy. (forgot Leahy) My inlaw is a registered Democrat in NJ. Otherwise she’d lose her teachers pension.

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 8:21 PM

He also told her: “You can sleep with them. You can bring them in. You can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that… and not to bring them to my games.”

Sounds like the ideals of a conservative there.

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 8:26 PM

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/racist-donald-sterling_b_5223223.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

HuffPO. You guys are all into HuffPo right?

WryTrvllr on April 28, 2014 at 8:27 PM

The Democrats don’t have any real issues that are favorable to them for the election so they are opening a racial jihad. Notice they are going after people that aren’t even politicians. That’s because politicians have become hardened targets. Politicians have handlers. The beauty of hitting someone with the racist slur is that you can then challenge everyone to denounce them. If they do mission accomplished. If they won’t denounce them it’s still mission accomplished because then that person must be a racist too.

It’s divide and conquer the Democrat way.

claudius on April 28, 2014 at 8:51 PM

There are enough differences between Bundy and Sterling, that I don’t need to consider them the same thing. Bundy wonders at the state in which African Americans would be “better off”. Bundy’s bigotry is a type of stereotype or an over-generalization from a single experience.

No matter how much Sterling overgeneralizes, the key note in his bigotry is compliance and personal reaction. Sterling seems to comply with a societal standard of bigotry and public decorum and even will try to compel his girlfriend to follow it. And his confusion is how this should be a special case among societal standards which include a stigma against rich people keeping mistresses (cons don’t like his cheating, libs don’t like that he can attract girls with money).

Also as well, we know much more about Sterling’s intent because his remarks take place in a dialog and he can react to questions about how he means something. Nobody questioned Bundy as to whether he meant the absurdity that black entrepreneurs and CEOs would be “better off” under slavery–because slavery included every black male within a geographic boundary.

There is no reason to count them as the “same thing”, except that’s what people who can’t discriminate facts and cases do–and Alinskyans.

Axeman on April 28, 2014 at 9:04 PM

Turns out he is a republican.
Conservative media has egg on face again.

weedisgood on April 28, 2014 at 9:54 PM

Turns out he is a republican.
Conservative media has egg on face again.

weedisgood on April 28, 2014 at 9:54 PM

When your buzz wears off and you finish that bag of cheetos, go outside, get some air, and then mull this (some more?):

He also told her: “You can sleep with them. You can bring them in. You can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that… and not to bring them to my games.”

1. I might not want my girlfriend (????) sleeping with Magic Johnson either. It’s just a thing with me.
2. Whatever her color, I might not want my girlfriend bringing her other boyfriends to our “date nights” Again, it’s just me.

As far as whether he is a racist? Probably. I’d give him a 3 out of 5 on the Al Sharpton Scale.

WryTrvllr on April 29, 2014 at 3:43 AM

There is a reason why Marx said “Workers of the world, unite.”

Trotsky on April 27, 2014 at 9:07 PM

Yes, so Marx wouldn’t have to work himself…

zoyclem on April 29, 2014 at 7:42 AM

Is actual racism completely dead in America? No… I’m not saying that.

That’s good, for if you did say that you’d be wrong.

But from the looks of things out on the street it’s dying a natural death.

Those are some mighty fine (and thick) rose colored glasses. Where might I purchase a pair?

I wouldn’t read too much into the comments of septuagenarians who grew up steeped in a different culture.

I would. Those septuagenarians have an uncanny ability to spread their hatred to the young.

rukiddingme on April 29, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Turns out he is a republican.
Conservative media has egg on face again.

weedisgood on April 28, 2014 at 9:54 PM

Depends. I listened to the Beck show the other day and Pat and Stu repeatedly referred to him as a “Democrat donor”. As far as I can see, he’s only given to Democrats, including far-left Bill Bradley.

Also Newsbusters ran a story implicating “Democratic and NAACP benefactor“. This makes Sterling the equivalent of the “reasonable Republican” that we might want to purge from our party, but the Dems argue make us too extreme.

I’ve seen a lot of comments by users that called him a “registered Democrat” or a “card-carrying Democrat”. But those are commenters, not the site, not the media organ. This story as well calls him a “Democrat donor“. Which he is.

Axeman on April 29, 2014 at 12:02 PM

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