Here I am in the US of A, and I have to feel lucky and happy that I only come to visit. I spoke to some of the Jamaicans with whom I’ve made a trip to Florida that we in Jamaica never seem to experience a kind of racism that exists all too often in the USA. I had not really been following certain developments when we had that discussion, but in the age of news flowing to us from everywhere all the time, I had to get a whiff of it soon. It stinks!
What is good about what I have read? Well, people who are its target and others want to deal with it quickly and openly.
What is bad and ugly–because I don’t want to make floral tomato designs trying to distinguish? All of it.
First, I got a hint of the uttering of Cliven Bundy.
He is described as a Nevada rancher. His basic argument is that “the Negro” was happier under slavery: “And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy?” [my emphasis]. He has defended himself by saying he ‘wondered’ and is ‘still wondering’. His thoughts have not found much support, including from several influential figures in the Republican Party. I’m not going to spend much time wondering. I’ll say “I hope not.” His juxtaposing the slave’s life with ‘modern’ life for black Americans is also interesting: as a group, the people are seen as a pure underclass–people living on welfare. The myth of all black people being poor and feckless goes on. That to me is the really heinous part. Whatever black people have managed to achieve in a country that worked its tail off to keep them deprived of many basic right is all dust because they are all still worthless poor ‘negroes’. A bunch of takers and no givers. Then to rub salt into the wounds, the words have come from a man who has been grazing his cattle on government land for which he should have paid and did not. God bless America!
Then, during the course of yesterday, I tried to stay up with the roller-coaster story that began with the uttering of the owner of the NBA basketball team, the LA Clippers, Donald Sterling, who allegedly went on a racist rant during an argument with girlfriend V. Stiviano. As reported by news hounds, TMZ: ‘Sterling expressed frustration that his girlfriend associated with “minorities” in public and said he didn’t approve of her posting pictures online via Instagram. The recording is unsurprisingly garnering plenty of attention. Some of Sterling’s comments centered around NBA legend Magic Johnson: “Don’t put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”‘
Well, ‘Magic’ reacted and said he wont be going to any more Clippers games while Sterling in the owner. Ya-boo! The NBA is now investigating and the Clippers are trying to do damage control, and issued a statement:“Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life.” Also, “He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them.” That’s just peachy from a man who lost a case to the Feds over his actions as a landlord, who discriminated against black families. I can’t even say ‘antithesis’ the way my jaw is trembling.
Clippers and other NBA players, with big profiles have reacted angrily, and there has been talk of boycott. The players’ union is taking a ‘strong’ position against the remarks. Magic Johnson has urged the Clippers to focus on playing and he will deal with Sterling. The Clippers, and their coach, Doc Rivers, must feel really good about themselves, as they proceed in the play-off, just underway. Most of the players, and the coach, are “minorities”. They just feel the love oozing from their owner?
When I went to bed last night, the story seemed to be morphing into many different things and I may need to see what bizarre twist it has taken, that are off from the racism track. The gist I read was that Ms. Stiviano wont cooperate with the NBA in its investigation. She’s a party in the divorce proceedings of Mr. Sterling, which allege that she tried to embezzle US$1.8 million from the ‘old man’. A twist may also involve her age at the time of her initial relationship with Mr. Sterling–she might have been a minor. All of this is curious, to say the least, and curiouser because Ms. Stiviano looks like a ‘minority’ person. So, I have to wonder (thanks, Mr. Bundy) if Mr. Sterling is just a senile old geezer. That would take away all the pain and suffering? Err, no.
Somewhere in the whole Donald Sterling story is the inexplicable fact that the Los Angeles NAACP chapter is scheduled to give Sterling a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ next week. Pass me the dictionary! What is the definition of ‘awkward’ and how many ‘p’s are in ‘stupid’? Let me stop here.