Thursday, May 1, 2014

You Better Watch What You Say (or at least who you say it to)

I’m sure by now at least 80 percent of America has heard what Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling had to say on a secretly recorded audio tape, or at least seen Donald Sterling and racist in the same headline, the rest must not have a TV or internet connection. I’m sure 100 percent of sports fans have heard the hateful words of an owner, revealing his feelings about minorities as well as his inner feeling towards women and the space both occupy in the world according to Donald Sterling. As juicy as the details to this story are, especially the fact that the NAACP was about to give Mr.Sterling a second Lifetime Achievement Award, there are so many angles to this story we have to break this one into several parts; Ownership, Culture, Racism.
              “Structure” …… “WHITE POWER STRUCTURE”.  What did you feel when you read those words…”WHITE POWER STRUCTURE”, better yet what do you think about when you read the words “BLACK POWER STRUCTURE”. Which one sounds more believable? The concept of the “White Power Structure” is something like the famed continent of Atlantis lost to the magnanimous ocean, great  stories from the likes of Plato of how large and magnificent the continent was, perhaps larger than Africa, however, these claims can’t proven because there is no evidence it ever existed, we don’t see it. The absence of  evidence is not the evidence of absence when it comes to Mr.Sterling, his perfect exemplification of the “White Power Structure” was put on display for our ears,  and in turn allowed us to individually paint a different picture of America in our minds; an America  some said didn’t exist in a post racial society. A white man in charge of a team of mostly black share cropper s because let’s be honest the basketball players bring all the revenues to the Clippers, look at all those State Farm and Kia commercials; not wanting his mistress, who is part black by the way to publicly associate with Black people nonetheless bring them to his games to watch his share croppers pick cotton…I mean shoot hoops.  
Seriously though, there have been parallels for years about how sports owners are like slave owners with the football fields or basketball courts being the plantation where all the action happens. So for a situation  like this to happen raises questions about the other NBA owners as well as the owners of other professional teams and their mindsets about the players who earn them millions. The questions shouldn’t only be reserved for sports owners; there are several owners of Fortune 500 companies who share similar views to Donald Sterling, and while I understand it may not be all, a few bad apples do spoil the bunch when it comes to racism. But we will get to that later.
                Culture basically consists of an individual/groups customs or rituals despite race or ethnic background, although those factors do make up exclusive cultures in America such as the big money culture where White males seem to dominate; 29 out of 30 Majority NBA owners were White at the time of this post. In the Big Money Culture woman are in abundance, Black White, delicate Latina it doesn’t matter (Not many are CEO’s),Ms. Stiviano was one of these women. There is a known culture, I’m not sure if it’s the world but let’s just say the US, where young woman are attracted to old guys… with money. I’m not saying she is a Gold digger, but she ain’t messing with no broke ni88a$; she’s taking pictures with Magic Johnson and Matt Kemp. Now, there is no evidence that that Ms. Stiviano, which is a weird last name for someone who is Black and Mexican, is looking for handouts from only rich men,  but it does seem that ole’ Donald doesn’t like the idea that his investment is walking around with other ballers. The question this raises for me is how deep is your hate for black people that you don’t want your mistress, someone whom you are committing a moral wrong with to be publicly seen with Black people. Remember, it is Mr. Sterling who says that he is “living within a culture” That whole exchange shows the level of entitlement that goes into the mindset of people who benefit from the white power structure.
 Back to Culture, like Chris Brown said “these hoes ain’t loyal”, Mr. Sterling was ultimately done in by a young model who got tired of stroking his ego.  I don’t think this will stop groupies from seeing sports figures as a meal ticket, but I do think the fact that it took a female who might ultimately end up on Basketball wives, Bad Girls club or some Bang Bros porno to uncover the vitriol, and contradictions that make up Donald J Sterling a man whose shady dealings have been on public record for a long time. I’ve heard people on news shows say how the way she gathered the information was wrong being that California is a two party state in regards to voice recoding consent, and how we recently voiced our disgust at the NSA and their overreaching surveillance tactics. Using that argument and placing the characters of both situations in their appropriate role. Donald Sterling would play the role of the NSA, an arm of the U.S government.  Now I don’t know if Mr.Sterling was checking anyone’s phone calls or messages, I’m sure he checked Instagrams, but Mr. Sterling acted so egregiously and made such repugnant remarks, it’s hard to believe that he wasn’t instituting those beliefs in the daily operations of the Clippers organization just like it’s hard to believe that the NSA isn’t somehow making avatars based on our digital footprint. Ms. V Stiviano, was privy to the goings on of Donald Sterling and his franchise the way Edward Snowden was to the NSA and the Homeland Security portion of the United States government. Ultimately both Edward Snowden and Ms. Stiviano, brought to the American public two of the most pressing issues of our time, racism (hidden and institutionalized) and government overreach. Now the way they broke this news to us was questionable, but what would have been the proper way?? Obviously there is none because Snowden is in exile in Russia and Ms.Stiviano is walking around in a stupid visor covering her face.
Lastly on culture and how it relates to his case, I’m tired of every time someone White says something racists, America rallies to protest and ultimately takes away pieces of their empire, whether it be a basketball team, cooking shows or corporate sponsors pulling their support, the only message this send is that racist who speak out aren’t allowed to participate in the system especially if it’s bad for public relations. Once again this man was allowed to operate for years with questionable business practices towards minorities, and yet still had his business connections. We have to call corporations out for their hypocrisy especially since Blacks have major purchasing power, we just have to realize it
                Racism is just too big to explain, I’m sure there are several definitions to be found in dictionaries, but brochures can only do so much to describe a cruise, you have to actually go on the cruise to feel the wind in your hair, the lime in your drink and foot on your neck from the oppression of all you can eat buffets and private islands. Racism is the same way, yeah you can prepare in school by learning about the history of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, or you could watch roots or other documentaries, but nothing means more to racism than the actual manifestation of racist beliefs, attitudes and ultimately behaviors. It’s why the names Jordan Davis, Rahmarley Graham and Trayvon Martin matter, because it not just some tale about big foot Black folks have been telling to society about why they may act certain ways or why the subculture is so heavily scrutinized and basically lost. Racism is real and it’s not just slave owners whipping slaves, its housing discrimination, horrible legal representation, bias law enforcement policies which creates this malaise amongst not just whites but those who are aspiring towards affluence, that Black is bad as a whole but simultaneously profitable as well (Insert Miley Cyrus twerking). What makes this story so bad is that there was a possibility the audio recording could  never have been released, the record button could have never been pushed and our ears, ultimately our minds would have never made the shift in thinking about how race effects our everyday life, but would have rushed home from work to see the game, ignored a spouse for two hours or so without acknowledging how our social idleness contributes to the wealth gap that is America and ultimately the demise of ourselves. Open racism is easy to attack and dissect and pass around in the court of public opinion; hidden/institutional racism  moves like a silent assassin, scarring generations with impunity but still able to show face in public after a trolling post on the internet or an application denial based solely on the spelling of a name.

                In the coming weeks I’m sure there will be several articles written, news stories reported and meetings amongst top African American figures in lieu of this transcending  moment in the NBA, but what should be on everyone’s minds is how this three headed monster of ownership, culture, and racism can be used to their benefit whether financially or intellectually. The tasks is up us, everyone, from all racial and ethnic backgrounds to not let things go on as usual and not be afraid of the pushback from being a “whistle blower” (especially Ms. Stiviano because after all that’s how she got to where she is at LMAO) on conduct we know in our hearts is wrong.  I hope this isn’t swept under our memory rugs, forgotten in place for some new Instagram trend or TV show that’s coming back, rather I hope meaningful action and self reflection is done. Donald Sterling was just one corporate boss, who true feelings were shared to the world. Imagine how the CEO of a private prison must feel about minorities, just some food for thought. Get your mind right. Let’s Go Nets!!!!!!

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