Reflecting On The Racism Of Donald Sterling

May 20, 2014 /

photo: Mike Litch,

Ed. Note: In April of 2014 an audio tape leaked revealing billionare businessman and Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making very strong racial statements involving African-Americans, Latinos and other groups. He has since faced a huge backlash from the NBA, in the media and from the public at large. Adam Silver, the NBA’s commissioner, fined Sterling the highest allowable fine, 2.5 million, and urged Sterling to sell the team. 

This incident has again raised the issue of racism into the national spotlight. We’Ced took time to reflect and think: Do we see this type of behavior in other places of our lives? Sterling had a reputation for being a slumlord for many years prior to the tape leaks, why are we more fascinated by racist words than racist actions? 

Do you know of anyone like Donald Sterling? Do you see Donald Sterling’s attitude and mentality in other people in powerful positions?

I believe that everyone has met someone like Donald Sterling. There is always going to be people who have reached the “top” and believe that they have become part of another world: a different class. Society is to blame. Society has implanted in our brains the idea that our ultimate goal in life is to become rich by either becoming a doctor, lawyer, or any other profession that pays well.

Fernando, 19

I don’t know anyone like Donald Sterling but I see corruption in those in power. Some politicians have attitudes similar to Sterling’s in that they feel the rules and manners of society do not apply to them. They claim racism is over and thus domestic policies helping minorities is a waste of funds.

Maria, 17

I see Donald Sterling’s attitude and mentality in other people in powerful positions because they can handle the consequences. For example Donald Sterling got a fine for millions of dollars but a few million is pocket change for him. With all that money and power going to one single person at once can cause that person to think he or she is invincible.

Elder, 18

People, especially teenagers of my age, are careful not to be openly discriminatory to people of different color. I am sure that I have met people who are racist or who do have unethical perceptions of people of different races, but I have yet to meet a person who openly displays racism in a manner such as Donald Sterling. It is simply too hard to know who is discriminatory in today’s age.

I see this negative behavior more frequently than I wish. People believe that money, power, or even social standing gives them power over other people. This type of attitude divides us as a community and takes away from the beauty of diversity that a community such as Merced has.

Benny, 18

I don’t know anyone like Donald Sterling because I don’t socialize with individuals that act like or show racism. If anything, I stand up for someone who is being treated unfairly because their race.

Robert, 19

I do not know anyone personally that behaves in such a manner as Donald Sterling. However, when it comes to people in positions of power or authority I see some of the same offensive behavior in a gendered context. Many congressmen, senators or formers presidents have been caught with prostitutes, for example. But even then at least most of them are somewhat apologetic about it.

Donna, 19

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