No one denies that what Donald Sterling said is wrong, but Oluwatosin Awofeso argues that returning hate with hate won’t actually solve anything.
Let’s get a few things out of the way first.
I’m black. I’ve had people be hateful to me with only that information. I’m not certified in any type of social science. I have a diverse friend group. I’m a believer in Christ and that the bible is the inherent word of God. I’m 26.
Now that that is done, I’m very upset about how people are treating Donald Sterling and his racist comments. It makes me think people don’t want racism to stop.
If you’ve been fasting from Facebook for the last five days, TMZ can catch you up.
Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was caught on tape by his mistress talking about his discomfort with black people.
This makes me want to hug him.
Here’s what we’ve done in the last five days. We’ve screamed at a man who hates—no, we hated a man who hates. How is this the solution to the obvious problem of ignorance? You know how ignorance happens? By taking an experience and attaching it to everyone that is somewhat similar to the persons involved.
Well, let’s do some fun math, shall we? The full, unedited Deadspin clip is 15 minutes. We also probably have another hour’s worth of documented quotes from Sterling that show his racism over the decades. 75 minutes of documented hardcore racism.
He’s 81 years old. He’s been alive for 4.2 trillion minutes.
Now, what he said was wrong, but I don’t know the wonderful things he’s done. I don’t know how he was loved or how he was raised. I don’t know what he’s passionate about or what’s important to him. I don’t know him. I could say those few quotes told me everything I needed to know but that would be—wait for it—ignorant.
My guess is Mr. Sterling has only been met with hate, when the only way for him to change his mind about black people is to love a black person and have a black person love him back. If you don’t think it’s possible, buy me a plane ticket to L.A. and I’ll pull it off.
There’s a bible verse about this actually: Romans 12:9-21, verse 21 being especially relevant:
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”
I’ve followed this story for the past few days and I saw the infection of this man’s broken way of thinking.
Hate is hate, people.
All of the problems in the world would be solved if we just loved each other, but its easier to hate. Donald Sterling was uncomfortable with black people for an assortment of reasons—how he was raised, perhaps, ignorance, his age—and it’s easier to hate than to change.
Diversity is uncomfortable, but you don’t learn anything from people just like you. We have so much to learn from each other, but we find ourselves pitted against one another. Girl versus boy, skinny versus fat, sexually patient versus sexually active, Jesus versus Buddha. When you get to know a person there is always something to love.
I’m glad the NBA so swiftly denounced what Donald Sterling said as unacceptable. I’m glad they made a loud statement about racism being wrong. I don’t think they did it out of a deep compassion for humanity, though. I think they did it because to not would be PR suicide.
It makes me happy that public opinion has tilted in the direction of intolerance of racism. But where was this during the NBA sex scandals of the last decade?
Take, for example, the Kobe Bryant case where he truly believed:
“This encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”
There was no swift action against this equally terrible rape culture problem. If it takes months to realize what consent to the person you’re having sex with looks like, we are failing as human beings, but I’ll leave that for another blog.
And all this hate and press is only going to solidify Sterling’s prejudice. I’ve never heard a story about a racist being fined and then waking up free of bigotry.
I’ve heard about Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson.
I’ve heard about a mother’s son being murdered and then insisting the murderer live next door after he got out of jail. This man’s life is completely different, because of this beautiful example of forgiveness. This is the answer to heart change.
What would happen if this level of forgiveness was given to Sterling? We’ll never know since we took the easy route of hate for hate.
As loud as this got, and as wide as it spread, no one offered this man love. Which is why I want to give him a hug, because I don’t want him to be racist anymore.
Photo: AP/Ringo H.W. Chiu