Sunday, April 27, 2014
Donald Sterling, an enigma wrapped inside a billionaire
(Donald Sterling and V. Stiviano)
One aspect of the Donald Sterling brouhaha which doesn't quite make sense to me is, if he didn't approve of publicly associating with black people, why does he own a basketball team?
As you've undoubtedly heard by now, Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, made the following comments to his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, as quoted by TMZ:
"It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?"
"You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that ... and not to bring them to my games."
"I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people."
"...Don't put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don't bring him to my games."
Sterling, a slumlord, also paid 2.7 million dollars in a suit brought by the Justice Department in 2009 for discrimination against blacks and Hispanics and families with children. He has, according to Wikipedia, been quoted as saying that Hispanics "smoke, drink and just hang around the building," and that "black tenants smell and attract vermin."
What I don't get is, if you dislike blacks so much, why not buy a hockey team? Or a polo team? Why not finance a sailing yacht for America's Cup?
The other thing which doesn't quite make sense to me is, if he doesn't want black people coming to his games, why does he himself have a girlfriend -- now an ex-girlfriend -- who herself was part Mexican and part black? And isn't he, by hiring the various Clipper players, bringing blacks to his games? Also, what exactly is the percentage in telling your part black girlfriend not to publicly associate with other blacks?
Sterling seems a bit conflicted, an angle the media hasn't seen fit to mention.
One has to wonder what it is in his background that makes him so confused. He was born Donald Tokowitz (he added the "Sterling" as an adult) to two Jewish immigrants, both of whom undoubtedly came to this glorious melting pot to escape the kind of narrow-minded prejudice and provincial attitudes which had bedeviled them in the old country.
Sterling married a woman named Rochelle Stein, so he didn't stray far from the reservation when it came to forming a family himself. His experiences as a lawyer and landlord undoubtedly helped shape his attitudes towards other races. But that didn't stop him from more recently having a black/Mexican girlfriend -- who presumably didn't hang out smoking, drinking, smelling bad, and attracting vermin.
As of yet, Donald Sterling is an enigma yet to be fully understood.
Of course, part of the explanation to his behavior probably has to do with his billionaire status; after years of having people kiss his behind, his social antennae have undoubtedly become a bit blunted.
All of which makes me think that having one's antennae blunted because the only way people relate to you is to say "Yes sir," and "You're the greatest, sir," and "I don't care how old you are, you're just incredibly sexy," must be a very pleasant experience.