Donald Sterling’s Free Speech and Latest Ruling on Affirmative Action

Updated Apr 30, 2014

To understand Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling is to understand the modern racist.

It’s all about, “Do as I say, not what I do.”

How else do you reconcile the statements of  a man who makes millions living off Black elite athletes yet doesn’t  want a female friend  to “promote” that she  fraternizes with Blacks in public, brings them to games and even posts pictures with Blacks on Instagram.

Even President Obama has called the statements racist.

As Sterling allegedly said on a recorded conversation with a girlfriend, “I want you to love them privately. Every day you can be with them … every single day of your life … but why publicize it on Instagram and why bring them to my games?”

It’s unbelievable till you hear it, complete in full repetitive glory, f-bombs and all.

Hypocrisy? Sure, but it’s also the kind of duplicity we encourage in the modern day, which enables the modern racist, many of them card-carrying members of the infamous one percent.

The exclusionists among them allow for inclusionary practices whenever there’s money involved. Black athletes definitely make money for Sterling.

But apparently Sterling still doesn’t want to be associated with them.

That’s really the modern version of the Old South. The appearance of tolerance masks ingrained racism.

The NBA is investigating. It likes money, too. But it can’t afford to be known as a racist league.

When you think about it, sports, at least where it counts — on the field ― should be almost irrelevant to a notion like affirmative action.

Is there any more empowering a business for minorities than sports? Actually, make that for any race.

Elite professional athletes are a cut above. They are gifted beings, and when they turn pro, they are world-class entertainers. They prove their worth when it’s show time. You’re good or you don’t play.

Where affirmative action plays a role is when minorities are barred, period.

And that, of course, was the case in baseball, when Blacks were barred and forced into their own segregated leagues. That is, until of course, Jackie Robinson broke the color line in 1947.

Donald Sterling proves sports still need affirmative action where it really counts, in the front office and in the owners’ suites.

In this high-stakes game, when the owner is a billionaire with racist beliefs, the players are still just millionaire pawns.

Sterling’s duplicity isn’t that surprising when you look at the way society is going.

Sterling, a real estate magnet, really is no different from say the Koch Brothers, or any of their rank-and-file Tea Party followers.

They don’t see themselves as racists. They are just self-interested opportunists. They promote polices that enable the wealthy to justify exclusionary, self-preservation tactics. Just capitalism right?

So in their ideal world, lift campaign limits, enable the funneling of unlimited amounts of  money to win elections; prevent people of color from voting by advocating the stripping of the Voting Rights Act; have middle-class Whites see diversity as a threat to them, and have them vote against their own self interest, i.e., against unionism and workers’ rights.

Put that all together and you end up with decisions like last week’s ruling on Michigan’s Prop. 2.

The Supreme Court didn’t rule on affirmative action’s constitutionality. It sidestepped the hard ruling, and simply said voters should decide.

And now that the Supreme Court, by enabling obstacles on voting among people of color, and lifting campaign limits on the wealthy as free speech, has pretty much cleared the way for the Koch society to emerge “democratically.”

Just watch. There are many more Donald Sterlings out there than you think.

And if wealth is free speech in a Koch-society, what’s a little racist rant?

Emil Guillermo writes on issues of race for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (www.aaldef.org/blog). Like him at www.facebook.com/emilguillermo.media ; twitter@emilamok.