Racism is the Enemy
Ending It Isn’t a Game
Racist comments by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling have excited outrage from all quarters, including the most expensive fine the National Basketball Association (NBA) can levy, banning Sterling from attending any NBA events or facilities and determining how to force him to sell his team. In this excerpt of his commentary published on Time, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar digs deeper than the current moment of outrage to note that outing one racist through surreptitiously recording his comments is not only not enough, put points toward hyprocracy. As Abul-Jabbar says, for social justice is to be done we must all “be inspired to vigilantly seek out, expose, and eliminate racism at its first signs.”
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Shouldn’t we be equally angered by the fact that his private, intimate conversation was taped and then leaked to the media? Didn’t we just call to task the NSA for intruding into American citizen’s privacy in such an un-American way? Although the impact is similar to Mitt Romney’s comments that were secretly taped, the difference is that Romney was giving a public speech. The making and release of this tape is so sleazy that just listening to it makes me feel like an accomplice to the crime. We didn’t steal the cake but we’re all gorging ourselves on it.
Make no mistake: Donald Sterling is the villain of this story. But he’s just a handmaiden to the bigger evil. In our quest for social justice, we shouldn’t lose sight that racism is the true enemy. He’s just another jerk with more money than brains.
So, if we’re all going to be outraged, let’s be outraged that we weren’t more outraged when his racism was first evident. Let’s be outraged that private conversations between people in an intimate relationship are recorded and publicly played. Let’s be outraged that whoever did the betraying will probably get a book deal, a sitcom, trade recipes with Hoda and Kathie Lee, and soon appear on Celebrity Apprentice and Dancing with the Stars.