The real problem with Donald Sterling

This was originally published on Liberaland.

The normal reaction to Donald Sterling’s racist comments is outrage and disgust;  but my issue isn’t with what he told his mistress but rather how he treated people before, and how he was allowed to get away with it.  Like Cliven Bundy last week, there is so much wrong with what Sterling said that it is hard to know where to begin.  Remember he told his multi-racial mistress that he was ok with her having sex with African-Americans, he just didn’t want to see their

West's silhouette serves as the current NBA logo.

West’s silhouette serves as the current NBA logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

photos on Instagram. From soup to nuts, that is a crazy rant, but what’s even crazier is that not only were people not surprised by his racism but the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was scheduled to give the NBA team owner a lifetime achievement award this Saturday.  Yes, they have rescinded the offer. but why did they make it to begin with? In fact this would have been his second NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award.

Donald Sterling is a very rich man.  He has made a lot of his money in real estate and his history of racism and discrimination is well known.  The Department of Justice (DoJ) sued him in 2006 for refusing to rent to non-Koreans in Koreatown to African-Americans elsewhere in Los Angeles.  In 2009, he paid $2.73 million because he discriminated against African-Americans, Latinos and families with children.  That same year, Clippers Elgin Baylor sued him for wrongful termination and alleged Sterling wanted a “team full of poor, black boys with a white coach from the south.”

The chapter of the NAACP that was poised to award Sterling claims they asked him about the lawsuits and comments and took him at his word when he denied allegations of racism.  They are also revisiting how they vet candidates for awards and returning donations he gave.  And President Obama’s comment, “When people — when ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk. And that’s what happened here,” was perfect but still misses the point.  Sterling’s comments and attitude are not the real problem.

The real problem is not that the owner of a basketball team is racist, though that is unacceptable.  Donald Sperling’s racist comments and actions were condoned and he was celebrated after they were well documented; that is the problem.

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My “Arrested Development” story

Jason Bateman on the red carpet at the 39th An...

As people keep sending me “news” about a possible movie based on this show, I feel the need to share this.

One of the best television shows ever has to be Arrested Development.  Maybe it’s because I think I may have been born with a crush on Jason Bateman that I loved it so much.  Well, I came for the Jason Bateman and stayed because it was too funny to leave.

In 2004, I was in Los Angeles doing a trip for the Kerry campaign.  The hotel where we were staying was hosting the TV critics something or other where the networks trot out their stuff for the journalists.  My first thought upon hearing about this was I wonder if I will meet the cast of “Arrested Development.”  

After I checked in, a friend and I went up to our room.  Tony Hale (Buster) was in the elevator. I was pretty sure it was him but not entirely so I didn’t say anything until we got off the elevator where I told my friend I think that was Buster …  she had no idea who I was talking about.  When we left, he was still in that same elevator — I kid you not.  I was all — that IS Buster…  to which my very not impressed and now slightly annoyed friend reminded me that she had no idea who he was.

The next morning was chaotic for me.  I had been off of coffee for at least six months but there was Starbucks in the room so I went for it.  I also got a call that a bunch of details that I figured I would have to do but was told I would not would have to be done by me.  It wasn’t a huge deal, it was just going to be a squeeze.  I mention all of this because I think it is important to get my state of mind at the time to set the scene.

So, I am waiting in front of the hotel for a colleague to pick me up (and they’re late, argh!) and my caffeine infused, stressed out brain is all over the place.  Then I look around and I am surrounded by the Arrested Development cast.  I might have noticed it sooner, had I been paying attention to something other than my growing to-do list.

They were all there.  That included Jason Bateman. Truthfully, I was concerned that I was too frenzied

to talk to him but how many chances do you get to meet someone you have had a crush on your whole life so I went for it.  I started by telling him that I had this crush for so long and that when I saw he was back on TV I was really happy and I loved the show.  He was SUPER nice.  We chatted for a decent amount of time during which he asked me about my thoughts on the show.  He was really concerned that the family as a whole and the individuals were not relatable.  I said I could relate to them.  He also told me about the then only British TV show The Office, which I started watching and loving immediately.  (Side note: if you like either of these shows, you really need to see The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd MargaretDavid Cross and Wil Arnett, painful at times but glorious.)

I left that encounter with two goals for my year: to get John Kerry elected and to keep Arrested

Actor Jason Bateman

Actor Jason Bateman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Development on the air.  And I think history will back me up when I say I could not have failed more miserably at both (no, I do not think my impact on either was so great as to make a difference but it cracks me up that I was so determined and ended up just swimming against the current on both.)

Rumors keep floating about that they are making a movie and for a long time I woud get my hopes up only to have them crushed soon after.  Therefore I am not even going to entertain the idea that such a movie will be made until I see a preview for it.