Why does North America have such an unhelpful and unhealthy attitude to racism?
The reaction to the comments by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Stirling’s comments goes beyond ludicrous.
His comments, if they were correctly quoted, were not the most sensible considering many of his team and fans are black. They may have upset many people, but on the long list of serious problems in the world today, no reasonable person can rate them near the top.
However, they were made in a private conversation. One that was not intended to be made public.
For a country that claims to be against racism and for freedom of speech, the escalation of this incident and the resulting punishment of Mr. Stirling borders on the insane.
As a victim of far more serious racism than a derogatory comment in a private conversation, I am appalled at both the hysteria that this incident has generated and the reverse discrimination visited on Mr. Stirling.
For the record, my father was murdered, my mother crippled for life. Later, I was thrown in a police cell while my farm and all my assets were illegally taken from me by the Zimbabwe government. All because we were white. That is the sort of racism every one should be concerned about.
Do I blame all black people for that? Of course not.
The most irresponsible and malicious actors in this sad saga are the person who “leaked” the conversation to the media, the media channel that publicised it and all those in both public and private office who have used it to make themselves look good.
It was a private conversation.
Who among us can honestly say that they have never made a derogatory comment about a group of people in a private conversation. I cannot and I don’t think many others can.
How many times do we hear criticism of Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, Liberals, Bankers, Oil executives, the Rich, the poor, the homeless, Southerners, Newfies, Italians, Germans, Russians or any other nationality?
What about criticism of religions, Christians, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists? Or sports teams, the police, the military?
As a former white resident of Southern Africa, now living in North America, I frequently have to ignore allegations of my obviously “terrible attitude to, and treatment of, black people”.
I know that these comments are made from ignorance by people who have no idea of the real situation in my former countries and who have been subjected to anti South African and anti Rhodesian propaganda for most of their lives.
While I may not like the comments, I understand that people are as free to make them as I am to publish my opinions and Donald Stirling is to express his in a private conversation.
The comments were not illegal
At the time of writing there has been no indication that the comments broke any laws.
Donald Stirling is a wealthy man who may be quite happy to sell his team for the $600 to $700 million it is reported to be worth. It’s poetic justice that he will realise a huge profit on his original $12 million investment if he does sell the team.
It would be supremely ironic if he chose to disband the team, but I doubt if anybody would walk away from that sort of money.
Will he go on the counter attack and sue who ever he can? Again much as I would like to see it, I think the deck is stacked against him.
Unethical manipulation of an owners association
If the man has not committed a crime, it is entirely unethical for the NBA to exert pressure on the owners association to expel him. It is also wrong for him to be expelled from the association and banned for life while he legally owns a team.
This treatment establishes a dangerous precedent akin to Hitler’s persecution of the Jews in the 1930’s. Then it started with smashing shop windows. Now it’s by banning an owner from enjoying free use of his assets.
It establishes other dangerous precedents, underhand methods for sabotaging successful teams, alienating sponsors and supporters, crippling them financially.
It gives unsuccessful businesses the ability to raise charges of racism to unfairly eliminate competitors in the knowledge that even if the charges are completely unfounded, the media will ensure that damage is done.
Other than the reversed shirt incident, it does not appear that any team members have expressed their disapproval by walking away from the team. Their outrage is not sufficient to jeopardise lucrative contracts.
What would the NBA do if the team expressed solidarity with the owner and demanded that he continue as owner?
The USA trumpets the virtues of the free market system. The market should decide Donald Stirling’s fate, not the self-righteous advocates of totalitarianism that seek to control the thoughts and comments of a nation.
The end of free speech
It is an unacceptable use of thought and speech control, the same mob rule mentality that hounded Brendan Eich from his job a few weeks ago has struck another victim.
Who will be next, will it be you because you said something that a politician or someone in the media did not like?
Why this attitude is unhealthy
When a child comes to his or her mother with a minor scratch, she treats it with the appropriate amount of first aid and leaves it to nature and time to heal.
She does not poke it with a stick to make it much worse and then call the media to show the festering wound to the nation.
That’s what the over hyped reaction to incidents like this does, turn a minor scratch into a festering sore.
Like minor scratches, incidents like these should be left alone for time and nature to heal, not used to provoke racial tension and victimize people.
Why should incidents like this provoke such over-reaction? More hysteria than in some countries with histories of interracial conflict?
Is it lingering guilt over slavery? Or guilt over the almost total annihilation of the indigenous populations of North America and their reduction to powerless minorities? Or the success of the politically correct liberal left in dividing the moderate majority and stifling any opinion other than its own.
Be aware, you could be the next victim.
mage courtesy of Stuart Miles /