Racism is a cold, hard word.
It’s time for dialogue. It’s time for all of us to look in the mirror, find out why we hurt, why we hate, why we must judge others…
Racism is a cold, hard word. Not only that, it’s a condition lying within the human heart that is detestable, abhorrent, so cold and hateful that in a world where most won’t venture into the topic of political incorrectness, it brings out the wrath of the normally passive observer. Donald Sterling, the bitter, crotchety old owner of the Los Angeles Clippers shouldn’t have surprised everyone with his recent comments from a taped conversation with the now infamous V. Stiviano. We all know he’s banned from the NBA for life. We now know he was fined the billionaire pocket change of $2.5 million. We know he will fight, like a hungry dog, the NBA’s attempt at a forced sale of the lucrative franchise, in part because history tells us he’s a fierce litigator, as well as the fact that guys like this don’t just simply go away quietly. Even if the NBA wins, he’ll drag them through a lengthy litigation process just to show how long he can hold his breath until he turns….well, you know the color, just don’t tell Sterling that.
We all know the details by now. The story is becoming both more interesting and run into the ground by now. But there’s a side to this that doesn’t seem to get the ink it deserves. Recently, one of LA’s baseball royalty, Mr. Dodger himself Tommy Lasorda, jumped into the fray in an interview conducted by ABC News, which can be seen here: http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/tommy-lasorda-hopes-stiviano-hit-car/story?id=23618143. Never one to shy away from the spotlight, Lasorda didn’t disappoint by answering the questions asked of him. Even at the end of the interview, Lasorda is quoted as saying “And I don’t wish that girl any bad luck, but I hope she gets hit with a car.” Sure, that’s pretty mean spirited, but for some reason, when an 86 year old person says something like that, especially one that has so much respect and admiration attached to them, we tend to either accept it or pass it off as some form of early senility settling in. We make excuses for them, like in the case that Donald Sterling may have cancer, and if he does, could that be a reason why he’s so much more bitter nowadays? There’s something to these comments, regardless of the age of the body and mind they emanate from….what are WE willing to tolerate? What will we, the general public, be willing to overlook, based on the idea that an excuse may seem legitimate? And maybe even the deepest rooted question of them all: Do most of us, in some form, suffer from some degree of racism?
I used the word “suffer” for a reason. If someone has even the slightest hint of racism in their words, thoughts or ideals, then whether or not they acknowledge it, it’s a dreadful disease. It may not hurt them, but if others suffer in some way, and they usually do, let’s call it what it is-a disease. Tommy Lasorda has always been fiery but fun, boisterous but beloved, the cuddly, cute old man that epitomized the personality that acts as the bridge between the grit of major league baseball and the hype of Hollywood. When he spoke, people listened. When he was ejected, the umpire was wrong. Heck, in his day, Tommy was the exception to the rule amid a game of umpire bravado that took no grief whatsoever from it’s peion managers. But that was yesterday, and today is today. The world has changed, baseball has changed, but one thing hasn’t, and it’s sad; racism hasn’t changed.
IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE IS A RACIST, OR EXHIBITS RACIST BEHAVIOR, AND YOU CALL THEM YOUR ‘FRIEND’, WHAT DOES THAT MAKE YOU?
The fact that Lasorda has been a friend of Sterling’s for 30 years begs a question. I mean, he had to know what everyone else who had ever spent any time around Sterling had known all along. If you know someone is a racist, or exhibits racist behavior, and you call them your ‘friend’, what does that make you? I understand the premise of “hate the sin, love the sinner”; in fact, I believe in that with all my heart. It’s biblical. Lasorda goes on to say that Sterling shouldn’t have opened his mouth, then finishes the line of questioning off with a vain attempt at a ‘cutesy’ statement “…..I hope she gets hit with a car!” Doesn’t that imply that if the girl would have kept her mouth shut, none of this would have happened? Then Sterling could keep the Clippers, go on being a racist, and die a billionaire, yet taking none of it with him. So, according to Lasorda, it’s Sterling’s fault for letting his words get recorded, and V. Stiviano’s fault for being a stoolie, and there’s no fault in anybody being a racist?
This will all end up with a happy ending for some, sad for others, even if it takes a long time. Sooner or later, the Clippers will end up with an ownership group that will capitalize on the controversy and make even more money. V. Stiviano will likely either see jail time (she’s currently under investigation for extortion) or never be taken seriously again, or likely both. Someone will tell Lasorda to please stop talking, time will pass, and he’ll retain his Mr. Baseball status in LA. Sterling will lose the franchise, profit about $590 million on his initial investment, and eventually pass away bitter, lonely and not fond of African-Americans. What bothers me the most, and what I think reveals itself more from Lasorda’s words than Sterling’s, is the fact that we still, in 2014, have to judge others by the color of their skin. Bias of any kind is ludicrous, and in my opinion, is based upon the deep insecurity people feel within themselves, for some reason, that must manifest itself in the hatred of others.
It’s time for dialogue. It’s time for all of us to look in the mirror, find out why we hurt, why we hate, why we must judge others when the real reason behind all this filth is that we don’t like something about ourselves. Behind every face there is a drama unfolding, yet we are so self-centered we never take the time to invest in the lives of others long enough to find out how we can help. A word of encouragement, a helping hand, a simple “hello”. Our passive-aggressive behavior too often leaks into the point-of-no-return, and eventually, we believe our own lie, like the 5 year old who will go to his death bed denying he broke the lamp. Have you ever looked at a person of a different ethnicity, or judged someone based on a tattoo, the clothes they wear, the sound of their voice or the location in which they reside? We must take a look at who we are, why we believe what we believe, and take accountability for our own thoughts and actions. Until society takes personal responsibility, the ebb and flow of the evil that is racism will continue to divide and conquer, hate will grow, and worse yet, the love of others will grow cold. It’s up to all of us to prevent that from happening.