Opinions & Editorials

Donald Sterling’s punishment will not solve issues of racism

By Patrick Tamayo

The Guardsman

We live in a racist world.

Sure, it would be great to be able to live in harmony among other humans, but how exactly can we accomplish this?

It will be 50 years ago this July that our beloved United States outlawed segregated water fountains.

Given that just 50 years ago, a person of color could not drink from the same water fountain as a white person, how could anyone expect the ignorance of our recent history to simply disappear?

We’ve had the recent news of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling shoved down our throats by the media over the last few weeks.

He told his 31-year-old girlfriend, a distinction her and her lawyers deny, that he did not want her bringing black people to the Clippers’ games, and questioned why she had to post pictures with them on social media. He did, however, give her his blessing in engaging in sexual relationships with them if she desired.

His comments, recorded in private by his girlfriend or platonic friend have gotten him banished for life from the NBA and earned him a $2.5 million fine, the highest fine possible by the NBA.

Sterling operates within a corporation that felt they had to act swiftly in rendering a punishment for the 80-year-old’s remarks.

Other than actually not being able to have anything to do with the basketball team that he’s owned since 1981, and paying a minimal fine—for a person with so much money—forcing him to sell his team shouldn’t really be considered punishment.

Considering Sterling paid a mere $12.5 million for the team, he would stand to make an estimated $500 million by being forced to sell the team. And that’s a low estimate.

With all the things happening around us and around the world, this is the incident that makes rappers and actors take time out of their days to express disgust.

Even though Sterling has allegedly been expressing his feelings regardless of who was around, the fact that he was recorded saying it makes it really wrong. As opposed to just kind of wrong because, well, I don’t know why, if there is no recording there is no proof?

Sterling’s allegations are as bad as they sound, but before the recordings they weren’t repugnant enough for the NAACP, who were set on presenting Sterling with a second lifetime achievement award, after presenting him with one in 2009, as well. Sterling was set to have received the award this month.

The award was rescinded by the group, but the president of the NAACP’s Los Angeles chapter did resign for his involvement with Sterling.

Who cares that the president originally said there would be a time for the NAACP and Sterling to “try to work out how and why he did what he did and what is he going to do in the future.”

So now most of Sterling’s money is no good and organizations have made the decision to give back donations.

Ridiculously, it was OK for them to take money even though there were lawsuits and settlements regarding Sterling refusing to rent property to African Americans, Koreans and families with kids, as well as his being accused of “discriminatory statements and housing practices.”

People can now rejoice and sleep well at night knowing that an old billionaire will no longer be able to run his sports team or even watch them, or any other NBA team, considering the ban covers all games.

Now what? We have not been cured of racism. Ignorance is alive and well, and making Sterling sell his team will result in a billionaire being punished by the most severe of penalties because of the NBA’s swift actions, but he’ll walk away richer and will still have his point of view.

Yes, there is now one less racist running an organization that depends on a high percentage of African-Americans to generate its revenue, not to mention the countless other minorities who are required to ensure the arena and team operates to its full potential.

The man is 80, allegedly has cancer and the regret of being recorded while discussing, or fighting, depending on which reports you read, the actions of his lady friend may be too much for him to bare.

Racism is not going to go away anytime soon. Our overpopulated prison system is the epitome of racism, the country’s forefathers owned slaves and minorities were treated as a different class of people until just recently. 50 years is not that long ago in the big scheme of things.

While Sterling may very well be deserving of the consequences of his stupidity, as optimistic as we as a society should be, we cannot expect to live in a nonracial world, considering the history of racism not just in the United States but throughout the globe.

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