My Thinking About Sterling Has Done a Complete 180 as to Whether He Made Any Racist Comments

I agree with Robert Wenzel about thought control and opinion control. Sure, the NBA is a private market participant, and they should be able to do what they want as long as they do not violate the NAP. But, what’s scary about this whole thing is how quickly the masses have run to get the wood and the nails and crucify Donald Sterling. It’s scary because there does not seem to be much thought or mental reflection given to the situation.

I used to work for an organization as their HR representative responsible for employee discipline. Specifically, I would investigate problems — either poor work performance or unprofessional conduct — and then mete out what I deemed to be the appropriate amount of discipline. The discipline ranged from a gently worded email to suspension to termination.

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Silver called Sterling to confirm that the voice on the tapes was his. Ok, that’s step number one. But, if you don’t actually meet with the person and give them an opportunity to explain themselves, then you have not done a full investigation. How is that going to look when Sterling sues the NBA?

Another problem is the speed with which things have happened. I know that Silver was trying to show strength and resolve; I know that he was trying to support the players; I know that he was trying to show that he was worthy of stepping into the shoes of the much beloved and respected David Stern.

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There are over 100 hours of tape. Why not suspend Sterling and listen to the rest of the tapes? If they highlight some really negative stuff, then you can issue your lifetime ban. If not, then you can return him to his position, with back pay, and say that you have heard all of the evidence and find the man to be old and out of touch — but not a racist.

My thinking about Sterling has done a complete 180. Early on, during one of  Wenzel’s posts about Sterling, he mentioned that he did not think that anything he said was racist. When I first read what was written, I thought that he was mistaken. But, on second thought, I now think that  he is right.

Here is what I think was happening:

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Sterling also has the following exchange with Stiviano:

DS: You think I’m a racist?

VS: I don’t think you’re a racist.

DS: Yes, you do. Yes, you do.

(When you listen to the tapes, it’s clear that Sterling is saddened to think that Stiviano believes that he is a racist. Most people who are racists KNOW that they are racists and they embrace it. Sterling does not.). . . .

DS: It’s the world. You go to Israel. The Blacks are just treated like dogs.

DS: There’s White Jews and Black Jews.

VS: Are the Black Jews less than the White Jews?

DS: 100%

VS: Is that right?

DS: It isn’t a question. We don’t evaluate what’s right and wrong. We live in a society. We live in a culture. We have to live within that culture. Gift Card i... Check Amazon for Pricing. don’t work hard. He doesn’t say that we are not intelligent. All he says is that he doesn’t want his archivist/girlfriend publicizing the fact that she is hanging around Black people.

Surely, if he were a racist, wouldn’t he have used some sort of derogatory language? The guy is not talking in any sort of guarded manner. If the word “nigger” was one that he typically used, he would have used it when talking to Ms. Stiviano.

He is trying to protect her and her image. Granted, she probably doesn’t need the protection, but Sterling is an 80 year-old man who may no longer be the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Again, he doesn’t say that she cannot hang around them; he says, “Just keep it on the down-low.”

I know someone in an interracial marriage (Black man and Chinese woman). The Chinese mother-in-law was concerned about the marriage. What was her concern? How would other people view the couple and how would other people view the couple’s children. This was in 2001.

I live in the Bay Area, which is pretty diverse. At one time, I was dating a White woman who had some promising job opportunities. My minister told me that I needed to consider that I was going to be mingling in her circle of friends, that is, White people, and that I needed to think about how that was going to affect her and her career.

My minister was not being a racist. He was being a realist.

In the latest Captain America movie, Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson) makes the following statement:

“You take the world as you want it to be. We take the world as it is.”

Now, this is typical government lie/spin, but there is some truth to it. (The best lies always have some truth.) We all need to be realistic.

Sterling was trying to tell Ms. V that she was going to gain a certain reputation by publishing her interaction and friendship with Black people. What Sterling did not realize was that Ms. V wanted to gain that kind of reputation.

What about Sterling’s discrimination against tenants? I have admittedly done only a cursory review of the documents, but even that bit of shoddy research is more than most people. One of the cases brought against Sterling was by the government. They charged him with a violation of the Fair Housing Act by claiming that he owned several apartment buildings in Koreatown and that he did not want to rent those apartments to anyone who was not Korean.

Well, imagine that.

The government’s case has the following sentence: “A disproportionate number of new tenant households in Sterling’s Koreatown buildings were Korean — 1391 households, representing 80 percent of all new tenants, rather than the approximately 30 percent expected based on income and rents.”

It doesn’t take a genius to see what the government is claiming: Based on rents at $Y and income at $Z, we believe that 30% of Koreans should be new tenants. That makes tortured sense on paper, but that doesn’t make any sense when you look at what people do. Is it really that hard to believe that more Koreans want to live in Koreatown? The next thing the government is going to rectify is that more Gays want to live in the Castro or more Cubans want to live in Florida or more Blacks want to live in Oakland.

The complaint also says that Sterling did not want to rent to families with children. The horror. Apartment owners don’t want their properties destroyed by young kids. Things get broken. Walls get written upon. Carpets get soiled.

I have a friend who is renting his home. He told me that he had two applications. The first was from several single people who were all PhD candidates. The second was from a husband and wife with two kids.

He chose the family. Why? Because the neighborhood surrounding the rental unit was a family neighborhood and he wanted to keep it a family neighborhood. People have reasons for doing what they do, and those reasons aren’t immoral, even when the reasons may lead to negative consequences for some people.

If Sterling had owned an apartment building in Compton, and he refused to rent apartments to anybody except Black people, would the Koreans have had a problem with that? No, and even if they did, the Koreans don’t have a media-built soap box on which to stand. In fact, there are not many Asians that cry out for vengeance. Those sorts of theatrics are reserved for Blacks, Hispanics, and Gays.

But, Sterling did rent to Blacks and Hispanics. His problem was that he did not rent to enough Blacks and Hispanics to satisfy government goons, and then, when confronted with the issue, he fought back.

The government also claimed that Sterling kept records of the race/nationality of his renters. The government further claimed that he did this in order to keep tabs on how many non-Koreans were in his apartments.

That’s funny: When the government wants to keep track of race (see the Census), that’s perfectly ok. When a private person wants to do it, that illegal.

Sterling is now in a really difficult position, because anyone who comes to his defense is having to step into the path of a runaway social locomotive. Any white person who defends him will be called a member of the Klan or a plantation owner; any Black person who does it will be called an Uncle Tom — although most of the people who use the term Uncle Tom don’t realize that Uncle Tom actually saved the lives of slaves and should be considered a hero. (Plus, there is always the chance that something in one of the other tapes will show him to be a racist.)

I appreciate EPJ. It looks for the truth, regardless of where it may take Wenzel and his readers.

Reprinted with permission from Economic Policy Journal.