Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Sterling Thing: Two Unconventional Takes

You can always count on NBfPB for your unconventional take on race relations, because we are not cowed by the victimology police.  So here is a quick take on the Donald Sterling thing, aside from the fact that it is small potatoes as an issue in the world today.

Two points.

1)  The NBA decision was cowardly.  That's fine, I don't expect courageousness out of an institution setup like the NBA; they have an enormous stakeholder interest in the black community (fans, players, coaches, staff), they have a wet-behind-the-ears commissioner who is in no position to make courageous calls, and, frankly, they've wanted to get rid of Sterling who has been a long-standing embarrassment.  I get it, Donald Sterling is a pig and he is hardly the hill to die on in order to stand on principle.  Still, he did nothing illegal, there is no evidence he acted discriminatorily.  Even repulsive views are protected under the First Amendment.  A person's private thoughts are beyond the reach of sanction outside of society's opprobrium, and Sterling certainly has garnered plenty of that.  The NBA played the role of the thought police here.  I never expected courageousness out of the NBA, but that doesn't change the judgement - it was a cowardly decision from an institution structurally setup to make nothing other than cowardly decisions.  That's life.

2)  Blacks need to do better.  Yup, you read that right.  Blacks need to be more responsible members of the pluralistic society in which we live.  In short, they can't call for scalps at every little jot and tittle in the racial life of America.  Save the outrage for the truly outrageous.  And quit it with answering idiocy with more idiocy.  Specifically, I'm thinking of Larry Johnson.  The civil rights movement has bastardized the message of Dr. King and it has set race relations back decades, and LJ's comments represent the same kind of crap.  Dr. King fought for integration into society and color-blindness.  Don't go demanding segregation again, but only on your terms.  It cedes the moral ground the civil rights movement was founded on, it's rent-seeking, and it's just dumb.  You want a black-only basketball league?  Really?  No you don't, because it'll be nothing more than a glorified CYA league - it'll be worthless in contrast to the multi-billion dollar juggernaut that is the NBA.  (See above, Silver acted to preserve the good thing that you all - black and white together - have going.)  So, when an atrocious scumbag like Sterling is proven to be exactly what we've all always known he was (and happy to play along), spare us the outrage.  Save it for when we encounter real racism.  Then your outrage will be appropriate and needed.  What is REAL racism?  This.


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