Archive - Apr 2014

April 27th

Our Post-Racial Society, Chapter 5,297

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Memo to Donald Sterling: ALLOW ME TO ANSWER THAT FOR YOU.

If five Supreme Court justices are any indication, racism in America is a thing of the past. I mean, if racism were still a going concern, we might still need stuff like voting rights, or affirmative action. Since they've struck those things down, clearly, racism is a thing of the past.

And in one way, at least, we truly are. Because nobody who hates black people, or considers them less than human, or talks about how they were better off picking cotton instead of being lazy? That's not racist. I mean, the Ku Klux Klan says even they aren't racist anymore. And if the Ku Klux Klan isn't racist, nobody is.

Of course, on the other hand, it might just be that defining racism out of existence by letting racists define themselves as not racist is a deeply, deeply stupid way to run a society. Which would be consistent with all the other ways we run our society, admittedly, but this is where we pretend to stand against such things.

Which brings us, as it inevitably must, to L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who asked his girlfriend a question, unaware that she was recording the conversation. ACTUAL QUESTION TIME!

"There's no racism here. If you don't want to be... walking... into a basketball game with a certain... person, is that racism?”

Well, that depends on how you define "certain person". I mean, if you didn't want to be walking into a basketball game with Guy Fieri, I think we'd all understand. Sympathize, even. If you didn't want to be walking into a basketball game with an avowed Nazi, again, not racist. That's based on behavior. Nazi behavior.

So, how did Donald Sterling define the certain people he didn't want his girlfriend walking into basketball games with, or posting pictures of on Instagram? Well, here's where it gets tricky, because according to the tapes, Sterling defined that as "black people".

So, and I know this is a bit of a roundabout way of getting to the point, but yes. If you don't want to be seen with black people, that makes you racist. You're treating people differently because of their race. More specifically, you're treating them worse because of their race. That's racism, and since you're practicing racism, that makes you a racist.

And, frankly, that makes you a bad human being. It makes you the kind of person I wouldn't want to walk into a basketball game with. And I know you don't think of yourself as a bad person. Neither did Hitler. But objectively, he was, and so are you. And a society that ostensibly frowns on horrible racist people should, really, have some kind of response or punishment for this behavior.

Whether this will happen to Sterling or not remains to be seen, but let's not get hung up debating whether or not he's a racist. He is. And if you think he isn't, it's because you're one too and if we decide he's one, that means we're going to decide you're one too. And we couldn't have that. You're a Chief Justice, for fuck's sake.