While I was not particularly surprised to learn that Donald Sterling reared his racist head, I was exceedingly disappointed that we have yet more evidence of how much work still has yet to be done around race and how our nation still perpetuates the targeting and marginalizing of African Americans.
Let us hope this horrific moment from Sterling will create space for us as a country to have conversations around race and racism and that we will also include conversations around misogyny and homophobia and what I might call the intersections of oppression. If we can have authentic and empathic conversations around race and oppression, we can also pave the way for healing.
Of course, our collective hearts go out to the Clippers and for all of the African Americans renting apartments from Sterling — for all of the lives Sterling impacted with his ignorance. Perhaps the tonic will come in the form of a new owner of the Clippers. I have heard three names thrown about and a most wonderfully creative uniting idea. I have heard that Oprah Winfrey, Magic Johnson, and David Geffen have all expressed an interest in buying the team. Personally, I think there is some type of poetic justice in Oprah Winfrey (a black woman) and David Geffen (a white gay Jew) co-owning the team.
I am also drawn to the idea of a collective ownership. A man named Rob Wilson has started an Indiegogo campaign online to get as many as one million Clippers fans to join him in funding a bid to buy the team. He observes
Major sports teams no longer need to be in the hands of a few wealthy individuals whose values are detached from those of its fans. Technology has leveled the playing field in many industries. Now, let’s use technology to change the ownership suite… This is an opportunity put the LA Clippers in the hands of its fans, supporters and others who will not discriminate against others.
Approaching this from a social justice lens, I hope this awful incident (an incident NOT in isolation) will provide opportunities for us to unite as a nation and focus on issues of racial equity and equality. For me, issues of race are also tied to issues of misogyny, homophobia, and how we target people who are not part of the dominant culture.
CALL TO ACTION: I hope each of us will examine ways we can stand in solidarity with those people who are targeted and oppressed.