On a recording obtained by TMZ, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling told his girlfriend he doesn’t want her to bring Black people to games or post pictures with Black people on Instagram. “It bothers me that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with Black people. Do you have to?” is one of the many troubling comments caught on the recording.
The Clippers owner also alluded to Magic Johnson, telling his girlfriend to not take any more photos of the Hall of Fame guard, and to not bring him to any other games. “I’m just saying that it’s too bad you can’t admire him privately. And during your entire f***ing life, your whole life, admire him, bring him here, feed him, f*** him, I don’t care. You can do anything. But don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games. OK?”.
Magic Johnson responded to the comments, saying “It’s a shame that Donald Sterling feels that way about African-Americans. He has a team full of amazing African-American basketball players that are working to bring a championship to Clippers fans. The Clippers also have a strong minority fan base.” He also went Twitter to address the controversy:
Some would say it’s incredibly ironic for statements like these to come from someone who makes millions of dollars by employing Black athletes. But though I am upset about the comments, I can’t say I’m surprised.
Instances like this are great litmus tests for the hidden racial climate of American culture. The country is getting more progressive each year, and Mr. Sterling’s comments have no place in it. But it does show that these conception are out there. Go ahead and construe this as some old white man with archaic conceptions of the world if you want. But his words reconfirm a latent, but prevalent racist idea that Black people are here to entertain, and that’s it. To people like Sterling, Black people are here to sing, dance, act, be funny, run fast, jump high, and most of all, make you money. You can be entertained by them, but don’t associate yourself with them. You can admire them, but don’t take pictures with them. You can even have sex with them, but marrying and bringing them home to momma is out of the question.
Sports and entertainment have been major tools in uplifting the Black community and breaking different social barriers within American society. But unfortunately, there are people who don’t want to see Black people on the same level of humanity as themselves. The Black Body needs to be controlled, kept in line. We saw this in some of the racially charged backlash Lebron James received when he left for Miami (merely exercising his rights in a free market). And we especially see it when Black athletes do something wrong. It’s why many college hoop fans streaked in terror at the site of a large, strong, Black Marcus Smart confronting an old white alumni who was harassing him. It’s why people came for blood when Michael Vick was exposed for dog-fighting, or why Plaxico Burress was sent to jail for shooting himself.
Donald Sterling is not an outlier. His comments weren’t the unfortunate, politically incorrect slip of the tongue in the wrong place at the wrong time. Don’t think for second that there aren’t other owners in the sports and entertainment business that don’t think the same things. And if there are owners that think this way, it isn’t much too surmise that there are plenty general sports fans and everyday Americans who feel the same way. Hopefully the NBA will do something about these comments. I wonder how this will affect the African Americans currently on the Clippers roster, and the future repercussions for the organization (in terms of trying to lure top draft picks or free agents) if Sterling stays.
Slow-clap for “Post-Raciality”
We Out Here,