The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Columns

May 7, 2014

Primus Mootry: The Donald Sterling incident — bigger than basketball

Every now and then some relatively isolated thing happens that wakes us up to new realities, stirs public debate, and creates broad controversies. Such is the case with the widely publicized chatter between real estate magnate and LA Clippers’ owner, Donald Sterling, and his 30-something-year-old racially mixed paramour, V. Stiviano.

My interest is not to repeat the ins and outs of that pathetic conversation. As television journalists aptly noted, Sterling’s remarks are bigger than basketball. In fact, were it not for his ownership of the franchise, Sterling would be just an obscure “fat cat” lurking in luxurious wealth with racial and other attitudes that belong in the gutter.

It’s those attitudes and a few other issues that were raised during his chat with Ms. “V” that, as far as I’m concerned, deserve at least brief discussion here. These attitudes and issues include the racial confusions that continue to dominate in what is supposed to be a “post-racial”€ society; our upside down cultural values; and the meaning of wealth.

Also, although I in no way defend Sterling’s remarks, I do believe the issue of privacy needs to be discussed. After all, his remarks were surreptitiously obtained by a sports magazine, TMZ. Should those very private remarks be the basis for sanctions on anyone, wealthy or not? I think, too, that there ought to be some discussion of business ethics. If I own a candy store, do I have the right not to sell my candy to potential customers whose skin color or sexual orientation is different than mine?

As to the racial confusions, think about it. Here is 80-year old Sterling chatting with his half-Mexican, half-black girlfriend about not being seen with Black athletes on the Internet or in public. I’d say that was pretty weird, except this very situation has been a fact of life in American society at least since the days of Thomas Jefferson and his black slave wife, Sally Heming. In short, these racial confusions are nothing new at all.

Text Only
Columns
Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Front page
Poll

Do you expect your physician to follow state standards and laws?

Of course
Not always
Never thought about it
     View Results