Racism? No.

Matt HealeyWednesday,4 June 2014

The Snap:

I have been wanting to write this for a while but have not had the time. Mainly because my sports watching has been focused on the Rangers finally getting back to the Stanly Cup and not basketball. But there was something that happened recently that I think deserves comment. That is the Mark Cuban comments with regard to Donald Sterling.

The Download:

My thoughts on Sterling have been published here. I think that his life cannot suck enough. I think I said his punishment should be along the lines of being dipped in acid. So may say that is a bit much, but I am not thinking he should be held in it until he is dead but only that it should hurt a lot for the rest of his life. Regardless, in response to the incident, Cuban made a series of comments on how he was conflicted about race. The full comments can be found here.

Personally I found them to be very forward thinking and insightful. He laid out a case that he himself confronts feelings of racism and bigotry (I might be getting the exact word wrong). He works to overcome these feelings and move on. Personally, I applaud him for his comments. The fact is that race is a very difficult subject. It is not simple and cannot be accurately described in a 140 character tweet, or a 30 second sound bite.

The problem is that he was then attacked as being a racist. Granted, the outcry was not as significant as it was for Sterling, but then Cuban was trying to describe the nuance in his thinking, not trying to bang a 20 something by sticking his foot in his mouth (I suspect that is not the appendage he was hoping to have in someone’s mouth, but I digress).

The point is that issues of race are very complicated. There is the overt racism that Sterling demonstrated in his housing discrimination practices that results in the largest housing discrimination settlement in history. There is the subtle racism of lowered expectations that is never or rarely every identified. There is the use of “dog whistle” comments and actions, the most famous of these was Ragan starting his re-election bid in Philadelphia, Mississippi with a speech on states’ rights, that can be defended but we all know are code. There is the overplaying of accusations of racism by minorities for personal gain. There are the legitimate problems in some minority communities, some of which are inflicted by economic disadvantage and some are self-inflicted. All of these things happen and contribute to the overall problem, but since today’s culture has to reduce everything to a simple 140 character tweet or sound bite, we can never get anywhere.

Honest, open dialogues have to be able to attack all of these issues, but I suspect that we can never get there. Personally, beyond saying that things are complicated, I am completely unwilling to discuss any further because I do not believe that we, as a society, can every have an open honest conversation without it devlolving to personal attacks.

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Hat Tips:

Los Angeles Times, Boston.com, CNBC, Image Credit: Flickr

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