- Politics and Social Issues
Donald Sterling and Racism; an Esoteric View 
DONALD STERLING (formerly Tokowitz) in 1989
Has My Esoteric Lost His Mind?
WHEN BARUCH SPINOZA PROCLAIMED THE JEWS AND CHRISTIANS had the idea of God all wrong, and then went on to prove that a Pantheistic concept was more correct, his Jewish Church excommunicated as well as shund him in no uncertain terms. That is what happened to the LA Clipper basketball team's owner, Donald S when an audio recording was released which made his bigotry against Blacks public knowledge. The NBA fined him $2.5 million, kicked him out of basketball, and is trying to force him to sell his team. After thinking about this for the few weeks the scandal has been running, I have concluded the NBA should not have done what it did.
To begin with, based on this scandal, I would assert that Donald Sterling is a "bigot" and not a "racist"; the term which has been recently attached to him. To me, anyway, a racist is a bigot who acts on his or her bigoted beliefs and clearly, in regards to his basketball team (and mistress), Sterling has not acted on his bigotry. Is he a bigot, of that there is no doubt, based on the considering his comments he made from the released tapes and his previous legal issues. Further, in respect to his those legal issues, he acted in a racist manner relative to the lawsuit he lost
Thomas Paine, a Liberal Voice with "common Sense"
It's All About Freedom of Thought, Isn't It?
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO FOLLOW ME, you might be thinking ... when did My Esoteric become so conservative? For those that don't follow me, know that I am a bit of a social liberal, especially when it comes to issues like this. But, I am also all about balanced Justice, I even have the sign of Libra tattooed on my left shoulder. And in the case of Donald Sterling, he did not, in my opinion, receive balanced Justice for his display of (unconscious) bigotry. Damn, he did again! What do you mean by unconscious?
Unconscious, in the case, means "instinctual", "natural", "philosophical"; in other words he doesn't see himself as being bigoted, he sees himself simply as being pragmatic and taking the world "as it is" or "should be" to preserve good order.
Thomas Paine, in his book Common Sense, which did so much to energize the Colonies to accept independence from England wrote
"But there is another and great distinction for which no truly natural or religious reason can be assigned, and that is the distinction of men into KINGS and SUBJECTS."
This is the motto, as it were, of Liberals and liberalism and is rejected by Conservatives then, and Conservatives today. Many people throughout the ages from Edmund Burke (thought to be the father of conservatism to George Wallace to William F. Buckley Jr. to Rush Limbaugh have made profound arguments rationalizing the need for a "distinction of men into Kings and Subjects." You see this belief on display between V. Stiviano and Donald Sterling:
V: Do you know that you have a whole team that's black, that plays for you?
DS: You just, do I know? I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have—Who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners, that created the league?
With the above words, clearly Sterling sees himself as the natural King and the Clipper players and coach as his Subjects. The fact that Sterling (and the other owners) would have nothing if it weren't for the players making the choice to play in the first place is completely lost on him. It is also lost on all of those who objected to Senator Clinton's claim that "it takes a village to raise a child" and President Obama's rebuttal to Republican claims that business owners are solely responsible for the success of their businesses when he said in part,
"... If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business—you didn't build that. Somebody else [helped] mad[k]e that happen."
Unfortunately, Obama's phrasing allowed Conservatives to subvert the true message; I think it would have been much better if he had inserted the words I have in brackets because that reflects the meaning that agrees with the rest of the sentence and which he unsuccessfully tried to convey the following day and weeks. Nevertheless, from a progressive's point of view, Paine, Clinton, and Obama spoke the truth; but from a conservatives standpoint, it makes no sense at all.
And that is why the NBA's actions were excessive.
So What Is Wrong?
EXACTLY WHAT DID STERLING DO WRONG? NOTHING, as far as I can tell. he simply expressed a point of view; no more, no less. And, if you are one of those liberals or moderates that say he did, you best stay out of glass houses and hope no stones are around lest you cast one in error and receive a dozen back in reply. Of course, Stirling's views are abhorrent to those who aren't conservative in fact, they are not unique to him but instead, widely held, probably by at least 20% of the American population; but his views, in and of themselves, is not cause for action by any third party.
There is also the following problems beyond the fact that these are personally, Constitutionally allowably held views:
- the conversation with Stiviano was private
- the recording was illegally recorded
- he didn't threaten, let alone actually act on his bigotry
- he hasn't, as far as it has been reported anyway, acted in a racist manner toward the Clippers or anyone else that has come to light as of this writing.
So, what right does the NBA have to crucify a man for privately holding a politically incorrect belief, a belief that is not even an uncommon one in our society, It was not Sterling's fault his views became public, it was the criminal actions of a third party; somebody he ought to legally pursue until that person as been crushed as bad has he has. Now, Sterling's bigotry would make it hard for me to personally like him (not that he would ever care), but, now that his views are so public, he would not get away Scott-free either, even if the NBA had done the right thing and just denounced his bigotry. The Clipper franchize would be in jeopardy from many quarters; 1) fans, 2) sponsors, and 3) his team; especially the team because they have to figure out how to deal with an owner who believes they are simple Subjects that should be grateful for his handouts.
Anyway, that is My Esoteric's take on things.