Thursday, May 15, 2014

Donald Sterling claims he isn't racist: really?

Many high profile people who make outrageously racist comments and are taken to task publicly as a result often end up apologizing in public, making excuses and claiming they're not racist in a bid to save face. Such apologies are hollow, and no sensible person takes them seriously.

Donald Sterling, disgraced owner of Los Angeles Clippers basketball franchise, was slapped with a lifetime ban and fined $2.5 million by the National Basketball Association (NBA) for making ignorant, racist and highly offensive comments that were recorded and released to the public. Weeks later, the billionaire apologized in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper --  and claimed he isn't a racist.

The irony is that, in the interview the tycoon went on to make even more racist and unacceptable assertions. He viciously attacked NBA legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson for being HIV-positive and accused the legend and other successful black people of not supporting "minorities" in need. He claimed that unlike Jews, rich black people turn their backs to people in need -- another ignorant, racist statement from someone claiming he isn't a racist.

In my view, the interview with Anderson Cooper gave Donald Sterling more rope to hang himself in full glare of the NBA, the American people and viewers around the world. The interview was meant to be an opportunity for Sterling to "redeem" himself by apologizing and claiming --  as expected from people who make racist comments -- that he isn't a racist. But, surprisingly, he made a complete mess of the opportunity. Rather than simply make what would have anyway gone down as a meaningless apology intended to save face, the 80-year-old made it clear that he has little or no regard for African-Americans and people living with HIV.

It's prejudicial to say that someone with HIV cannot be a model in society. By saying so Donald Sterling stigmatized millions of people living with HIV/AIDS, and attempted to undermine positive actions of people -- like Magic Johnson - who are living positively with the virus and inspiring other infected persons to do the same.

It's plausible to conclude after listening to the audio recording that sparked the controversy and watching Sterling's interview with CNN that the infamous billionaire is racist and has little or no regard for minorities, including People Living with HIV (PLHIV).

Anyone who, like Donald Sterling - picks on people on grounds of race, color, health or other grounds is -- simply put: racist and prejudiced. It's easy to identify people who hold racist views by their words (and actions).

Worthy to mention that Magic Johnson responded gracefully to Sterling's attack. It turns out the basketball legend -- like many other African-Americans -- has contributed fairly to making the world a better place. Donald Sterling's claim that Magic Johnson hasn't done anything to help his community is unfounded.

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