It’s the talk of which watercoolers are made.
On April 25, an audio-recorded conversation “surfaced,” between then-Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his purported mistress V. Stiviano. On the tape, Sterling is heard reprimanding Stiviano for publicly being friends with several black NBA players and athletes and for posting Instagram photos of her with them.
The racially-charged conversation has everyone up in arms – from Sterling’s wife (who denies being a racist herself), fans and non-fans, to the NBA and players who play for the Clippers, as well as for other teams. The hate and ignorance that is heard is alarming, especially when Sterling makes statements implying he is the reason for the black athletes’ success.
There are questions being asked about all aspects of this scandal, but mine is why a bi-racial woman – Stiviano is of black and Mexican descent – would remain in a relationship – friend or other – with someone who is clearly a racist at heart?
Greed most would say; Stiviano sits in the lap of luxury with cars, money and a home – these and more allegedly gifted to her by Sterling. And the intimate relationship the two are said to have had for about four years is one similar to many women who feel sex will give them the fame, fortune and/or a faux happiness they unfortunately seek.
It is sad that it is all too common for an organization to lower its standards in the name of the mighty dollar. The Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP is guilty in this case, accepting Sterling’s contributions despite years of racism accusations on and off the court. But what does it say when an individual is so in denial, loathes his or herself so much and/or is able to erase his or her moral values that hate becomes acceptable?
Stiviano was born Maria Vanessa Perez in Los Angeles, but successfully petitioned to change her name in 2010, according to the Associated Press. Her court statement as to why: “[I was] Born from a rape case and having yet been fully accepted because of my race.”
Okay … sounds like Stiviano has identity issues, but are her morals really that low? Is money really that important?
And we wonder why hate continues to thrive.
The good guys in all this are State Farm, Kia, CarMax, Virgin America, Red Bull, Yokohama tires, Mercedes-Benz – who all pulled their advertising dollars from the team. And on Tuesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver slapped Sterling with a $2.5 million fine, banned him from the sport for life and encouraged league owners to force Sterling to sell the team.
Now that’s how you say “no” to hate.
It is important for people of color, especially, to stay true to our heritage, not allowing people to taint it with ignorant and hateful words and actions.
So what if Sterling is a racist. He is not the first in high places nor will he be the last. But it is up to us as humans to not allow this type of hate to take hold and grow.
Because if we don’t stand up to the problem, we just become part of it.
Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig is an award-winning, professional journalist who resides in Oakland. If you have an individual, organization, issue or other topic that may be of interest to our readers, contact her at [email protected]. Need more stirring? Visit stpminute.blogspot.com.