Ok, so we’re all aware of the Sterling case where he’s on tape making racist comments to a girlfriend. Initially, I wasn’t attracted to this story because even though the focus in the media has been on race, to me it still appeared as celebrity news.
The story is obviously involving influential, celebrity figures. Magic Johnson is in the Instagram photo that sparked the conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend. Again, it INITIALLY appeared as celebrity news so I threw it out. But I no longer feel that way.
Last night some family members briefed me on the situation, and they even played responses by Lil’ Wayne and Obama. At this point I’m interested, thinking “This is kind of a big deal, huh?”
So, this morning I listened to the audio of Sterling and his girlfriend for myself. And in class today this was a major topic of discussion so now I am led to write about it.
If I could label Sterling right now, I would label him as a guilty victim. The reason that I’d label him as guilty is because yes the comments that he made were racist and wrong. There’s no disputing the fact that he’s guilty.
But, I’d also label him a victim because he was confiding in his girlfriend. He was not on-air like previous situations, particularly the Don Imus case. Sterling was not on a platform spreading his negative beliefs to the world. He was speaking with his girlfriend, obviously unaware that the conversation was being taped.
If you listen to the tape it is clearly obvious who was aware that the conversation was being recorded. Honestly, when I listened to it my first reply was “Is this real?” It clearly sounded like a set-up to me. There were points when she seemed to bait him along into a trap.
My suspicions were confirmed when I found out in class today that the girlfriend sold the tape to TMZ.
This point has to make us all contemplate on her motives. This is important context of the situation that should not be overlooked. Unfortunately, I have not seen a media report covering this point.
Additionally, it makes me wonder: Was she aware that he was racist before this comment? Have there been other comments made? We’d have to conclude that she was aware of his beliefs. The media has made it clear that this is not his first incident involving racism. What was her motive with exposing Sterling? Again, these are just specifics that we should all consider if we are to properly analyze the situation.
The point to be made is that we must consider the entire context of the case. Another question that comes to mind is “How long have they been dating?” In relationships we should have trust and we should be able to express ourselves completely to our mate. Trust and open communication provide healthy foundations for relationships. I may add, our mates should encourage us to do better and be better- Not expose our flaws to the world.
Another point to make is that every person on this Earth has some type of prejudice. We stereotype and judge people, whether its based on race, handicap, social status, education, age, and the list goes on. It’s not right and we should all fight against it, but the point is that humans have prejudices.
We can not all sit back, point the finger, and criticize him while we act like we have not been guilty of the same thing at one point or another in our lives. We’d all be facing lawsuits if we had particular conversations recorded and shared with the public.
I am NOT justifying Sterling’s actions. Again, I believe that what he said was wrong and he should have appropriate consequences. But, we can not be appalled, shocked, and surprised. Our country was founded with racial segregation and slavery. Sterling is an older white male so I’m not shocked at all by his statements. All of us are shaped by our environments and upbringings.
Truth be told there are probably several other NBA team owners who feel the same way. Fortunately for them they have not been recorded.
As I close, the intent of this post is to encourage us all to view this situation (and any others of the same nature) in its entirety. We can not blow up certain aspects, while ignoring others.
Yes, with influence comes accountability, but my hope is that we are realistic and not overly critical while judging someone’s else’s faults. We should all look at the big picture, including the details.