By Michelle Seiler-Tucker, Special for USDR
The most communal inaccuracy the dominant society makes when discussing racism is to think it is a collection of prejudices and individual acts of discrimination. They do not see that it is a system of interlocking, reinforcing institutions: economic, legal, educational, and cultural. As a system, racism affects every aspect of life in a society. The “culture” that now former owner of the NBA Clippers was referring to in his infamously leaked audio recordings. In the provocative clips that were released to TMZ, Donald Sterling, the billionaire with the good old boy backwoods views, can be heard berating his alleged Black and Mexican mistress for posting pictures on Instagram with fellow Black people, among those being the renowned and highly respected Magic Johnson. By not acknowledging racism as a system, people often individualize racist acts and comments.
For example, they will reduce racist views by prominent public figures and business owners as a sign of times past rather than inexcusable views that should not be tolerated in any capacity. The need to distinguish racism as being systemic is one reason the term White supremacy has been more useful than the term racism. They refer to the same problem but the purpose of racism is much clearer when we call it “White supremacy.” Some people think of racism as just a matter of prejudice. “Supremacy” defines a power mentality of dominance. The term White supremacy gives Caucasians a clear choice of supporting or opposing a system, rather than getting bogged down in claims to be anti-racist (or not) in their personal behavior. In the apparent secretly taped clips, Sterling can be heard pathetically pleading with his Black girlfriend in an effort to convince her to distance her association with other darker skin ethnic groups by saying, “You could do whatever you want. You could sleep with them. You could bring them in. You could do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that Instagram, and not to bring them to my games.” As a Caucasian woman, I will never know the convictions of those nationalities that have to eternally fight for the acceptance of the dominant society, but I can identify with prejudice.
Working in a field dominated by men, I have had my fair share of ass grabs and shutouts. And nothing infuriates me more than blatant racial and gender entitlement. Slavery is usually remembered as a shameful and horrific time in American history, but less we forget that fundamentally slavery was a business. It has become apparent that Sterling has inherited a slave master’s frame of mind in running his NBA team. Equating the Clipper players to useless slaves with the statement, “I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have—Who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners, that created the league?” His delusions do not end there; he is “educating” his mulatto Negro bed wench on the cultural biases of the world, all in true plantation fed form.
Even the queen of all media commented on his despicable mindset, “It feels like a plantation mentality in the 21st century, in 2014. It just doesn’t fit,” remarked Oprah Winfrey. Once the despicable comments hit the public, the NBA slapped Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling with a lifetime ban plus levied a $2.5 million fine for racist comments he made. He was also forced to sell his portion of the team. The comments unleashed a surge of criticisms from celebrities and politicians including President Obama. In addition, a stream of corporations have extracted their sponsorship of the team to protest Sterling’s comments and his involvement in the team. Donald Sterling has made no public comments in his defense since the episode began. In my profession, I buy, sell, and improve businesses for a living; in fact, I authored a book entitled Sell Your Business For More Than It’s Worth. However, I believe that there is a point of no return and Donald Sterling has more than cross that line.
I applaud the NBA commissioner for punishing that white supremacist to the fullest extent of his power. As a businesswoman, I’ve learned that the color of superiority is not white, black, brown, or yellow; it is green. Money equals significance and power, not the amount of melanin, or lack thereof in this case, in someone’s skin. For the Clippers to regain any iota of brand loyalty and most importantly respect, Sterling must be removed and a campaign designated to damage control should immediately take effect. It deeply saddens me that in the year 2014, I must address such cruel and barbaric topics on my platform. The silver lining in this cloudy situation is that I am sure that most people have evolved from the primitive thinking of the not so distant past. This surety allows me the gumption to live my personal and professional life with the attitude of respect to all people I have the pleasure of making an acquaintance.