Dear Dirty America


Donald Sterling Not the Most Eloquent Racist

Donald Sterling Not the Most Eloquent Racist
April 29
15:46 2014

“If you’re going to be edgy with your belief system, you’ve got to be well-spoken. Donald Sterling is certainly not an eloquent racist, and he might take a lesson from the firebrand Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu.” — exiled cultural philosopher Hubert Humdinger

In relief of the perpetual news cycles about Russian / NATO hostilities escalating in the Ukraine, or the impending financial disaster coming in 2016, the NBA’s latest dilemma with Clippers owner Donald Sterling was a welcomed distraction, and on ground that Americans are actually comfortable with: racism.

I’m not a sports fan and couldn’t care less if the Los Angeles Clippers never ran or jumped across a court again, but when I caught the beginning of the Donald Sterling news conference with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, the gravity of the situation became evident. A gut feeling. It felt not dissimilar to receiving the news that your uncle Benny had suffered a heart attack three thousand miles away. I instantly scanned Facebook to make sure nothing of the sort had happened.

Los_Angeles_Clippers_2013-14_seasonMake no mistake. Tuesday morning, late in April of 2014, will be marked in the mind of the NBA Commissioner as one of the greatest days of his life. You could almost feel the cosmic human energy on planet earth bowing slightly toward Silver’s bald head as he denounced what everyone almost always claims they hate: a racist, and racism in general.

If it’s racism, we’re against it! was the prevailing opinion. Issues like that don’t have to be over-thought, and it is that safe unanimity with which American news fattens itself. And the commissioner, in this tiny blip of all of recorded and unrecorded human history, pretended to hold the sword that could potentially offer the dark dragon of intolerance a fatal blow.

Silver read the verdict with a strong voice that shook at the salient parts. It was indeed Sterling’s voice on the audio tape that had leaked and been broken by the meddlesome TMZ. The NBA has no room for racism, Silver declared, especially when it’s made public. If you don’t have enough sense to keep your racist rant away from audio recorders, then you might as well suffer a lifetime ban from your own sports team’s games, and you will also have to cough up .15% of your net worth in penalty.

What about the audio clip?

It’s worth listening to for many reasons. It’s offensive in parts. It’s pathetic in others. The audio is, tonally, a lot like any private couples fight that should never be aired for public consumption. Listen to Sterling and his girlfriend, who is Mexican and black, have a scuffle about her posting pictures on Instragram with black people, like Magic Johnson.

The audio is also an inside look into the private circus of a billionaire and his paid for whore. Maybe that qualifies as hate speech, but I don’t think so. His girlfriend, the mysterious V Stiviano calls him “sweetie”, yet it’s repulsive knowing Sterling looks like a bloated Richard Milhouse Nixon who has, always in order to have a good time, relied on thousands of stiff drinks over a lifetime. He’s also got at least four decades on her. He’s not charming, based on the recording. He’s peevish and whines like a dog that’s had it too good for too long.

“Why are you taking picutres with minorities?” Sterling asks his working girl in a voice as high as hers. “Whyyyyy?” he moans. It’s baffling. But he insists his girlfriend doesn’t understand.

Of course Stiviano’s a paid for girlfriend, and good for her for having to put up with his enigmatic bullshit. It’s hard to make it in Los Angeles so if you can get yourself a crusty, wrinkled old NBA owner and soak up free basketball games while you’re young, you’re doing something right in this city. Even better if you can get written into a will somehow. Otherwise living in LA is a life sentence of poverty level wages and plugged freeways.

If the motto for the press conference about Sterling’s punishment is: “No more racist rants in the NBA! (Save it for the NFL!)”, then the rest of us should be asking serious questions about the incendiary private chat between billionaire and bimbo.

The most striking aspect of the conversation is the undefined “they” who Sterling worries about. His lady friend shouldn’t be taking pictures with black people. She shouldn’t be bringing black people to the games with her, he keeps saying. Sterling doesn’t say black people shouldn’t be at Clippers games, he says he doesn’t want them with Stiviano. He also says she can sleep with black men, she can hang with them, and do whatever she wants, but don’t do it publicly.

Sterling is worried about his image, since Stiviano is an extension of him and his lifestyle. Sterling claims he does not hate black people, and he works with them all the time. So who is he worried about in this case? Who are they ‘they’? The other NBA owners and fellow millionaires and billionaires? His fellow elite? Is there some kind of perpetual racist attitudes running through the hearts and minds of the illustrious owners of NBA teams?

Donald Sterling is getting publicly whipped for his private comments, and that castigation will be what muffles the online clamor, so that advertisers will again pump money with full force into the NBA, and the Los Angeles Clippers, but the way he is wary of his image is a red flag for how his wealthy network views ‘minorities’, and the very players they hire to make them rich. After all, what is the NBA but a bunch of tremendously rich white men profiting madly from a popular system of exploiting and policing an institution that relies on black bodies.

For America and its centralized churning media machine, this will no doubt be a grand slam news cycle. The message is easy, the headlines are catchy. Everybody hates a racist. Especially a whiny one who may be a bigger spokesman for the NBA than the association will ever admit.


V Stiviano says she’s not Donald Sterling’s whore, despite what we thought (Let’s All Just Laugh series)

[Donald Sterling with Cliff Wildes, 1989, photo by Cliffwildes; Clippers photo by Keith Allison]

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