Inequality of Racism

Inequality of Racism

Yesterday the NBA barred Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life for the racist remarks he made in a recorded private conversation. Naturally Facebook immediately became a hotbed for inflammatory debate, much of it not worth one’s time to read as all too often in today’s society thoughtful discussion and reasoned, rational debate is replaced by verbal lashings and outlandish name-calling. That being said, underneath the often ALL CAPITALIZED rants, there are some valid frustrations concerning the inequality of racism.

A response to Donald Sterling’s remarks Monday in Charlotte, N.C., where the Miami Heat completed a sweep. Credit Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Many argue that Sterling ought to not be castigated because there is a long list of individuals with black skin who have made outrageous, racist, bigoted, or sexist comments and have suffered little ill will from society at large, occasionally even benefiting from their disgusting rants. The fact that some people get away with wrong-doing does not mean it is no longer wrong. The NBA’s actions are not the case of the government taking away private property, using the threat of force. The NBA is a brand and Sterling simply owns a franchise. When he bought the franchise, he agreed to honor the terms of the league constitution.

A McDonald’s owner cannot damage the McDonald’s brand without consequences. The same holds true for NBA team owners. Advertisers are pulling their sponsorships and do not want their ads run during a Clippers game. That harms other NBA franchise owner’s property rights. Many individuals will no longer attend or watch Clippers games on TV. That harms the NBA brand, other owners and the players. The NBA has the right, according to their own constitution, to defend their brand.

It is true that there are many loud-mouthed pundits who abuse the very concept of racism to forward their personal agenda, which is typically perfectly aligned with the interests of their own pocketbooks. There are plenty of people of all colors who are racist, bigoted, and vile in a variety of ways. Their actions do not make Sterling’s any less vile. The woman who recorded this private conversation is awful for doing so, but again, doesn’t make what he said, or the vile things he’s done for decades acceptable.

Yes, outrage in this country can be very biased, often one sided, and that angers the hell out of me, but again, doesn’t make this acceptable. This isn’t a tit-for-tat game. It has taken the NBA entirely too long to address the vile ethics of one of their owners, but now that they are finally doing so, let’s support that decision and make it known loud and clear that such a swift response will be expected any time racism rears its ugly head, regardless of the color of the skin of the perpetrator.