There are many bloggers like myself who write about the news, policy and media and then offer an opinion about it. In some cases, what I write can make a difference in the fight for or against specific legislation, and help elect progressive candidates to office, too. We all have our unique talents.
Powerline's John Hinderaker used his own approach in determining that Donald Sterling is not a racist, but a confused old man with probable brain damage, a harpie for an ex and a victim of the angry left, who piled on him because it needed a poster boy for racists. I responded to his piece on Twitter and thought I owed him a better explanation.
— John Hinderaker (@jhinderaker) April 29, 2014
After thinking about this for awhile, I've come to understand that conservatives only call it racism when it's extreme, like men wearing white hoods or marching with the Aryan Nation. They don't seem to understand that there are many levels of racism percolating in many people, and that the most extreme examples are probably the least common forms of racism we have in America.
Hinderaker (The Rocket) wrote a piece called THE RACE-BAITERS AND V. STIVIANO STRIKE GOLD, which is an example of this.
How did he come up with his analysis? I'm glad you asked. He writes:
He says he doesn't care if she associates or sleeps with black people, just don’t put them up on Instagram. An odd distinction! His request was motivated, evidently, by the fact that one or more of Sterling’s friends called him to comment on the Instagram photos. While Sterling never says this, reading between the lines it appears that someone must have teased him about his mistress consorting with blacks.
That's not surprising at all. He wants to keep what's going on with his sex life very private, so the fact that she publicly displays pictures of herself with blacks has his friends teasing him. It stabs directly into his ego and his pride and that's more important than anything else.
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What makes this bizarre is that Stiviano herself is black and Mexican, a fact that she reminds Sterling of during their argument. The situation is otherworldly, in that Sterling seems not to have noticed that his own girlfriend is black.
Using Hinderaker's logic, I'll reply in this fashion. Slave owners constantly had sex with their slaves and couldn't care less about their well being if it hurt their bottom line, but they would never stand for losing face over them. Many racists have no problem sleeping with those they rant about.
He may also be suffering from dementia. For a billionaire, he makes precious little sense on the tape(s). But then, most of us probably wouldn't make much sense to outsiders if tapes of our domestic arguments were made public.
Hinderaker put on his white coat and determined that Sterling probably has brain damage, but in the same sentence says that most of us wouldn't make any sense if we listened to each other's domestic arguments. (I haven't heard any reports on his mental health, by the way.) So which is it, brain damage or heated argument?
A billionaire asks his African-American mistress not to post certain pictures on Instagram: Is that what the “legacy of race and slavery and segregation” has come down to? Are the “vestiges of discrimination” so slight that this lovers’ spat is the subject of a presidential news conference?
If only Sterling had used Hinderaker's un-damaged brain to think things through, because then he would have asked her as nicely as possible rather than ranting at her. Hinderaker doesn't see anything wrong with Sterling's language when he says this:
"It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?"
-- "I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people."
Isn't that a totally non-racist way to ask his girlfriend not to be posting pictures of her with blacks?
Then the Rocket gets downright goofy:
The political motive to make Donald Sterling the poster boy for 21st century racism is obvious, but is he actually a racist? I have never met the man, but it doesn’t seem probable. He owns a basketball team on which 12 of the 14 players are black. The coach is black.
He hasn't met the man, but he knows in his bones that he's not a racist. See, why would a racist want to make over 500 million dollars profit off the backs of all those black folks he hates? If he was a racist, he would have just packed his team with whites and moved on. Oh, right, the league is comprised of 80% blacks. Well he still could have pulled it off, but then you know he would have been open to real racist charges and a massive lawsuit and being a lawyer and all, he might have been smart enough to avoid that. And then of course there's these stories:
*Sterling was sued by the Department of Justice on Monday for housing discrimination.
The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday sued Los Angeles Clippers owner and real estate mogul Donald Sterling for housing discrimination, claiming he refused to rent apartments to blacks and families with children.
Discrimination in the housing market has been crippling to the attempts blacks and Latinos have made to empower themselves economically. The worst examples are in the sales market -- there's a wealth of urban economic evidence showing how the inability to buy homes has affected the black-white wealth gap -- but such behavior in the rental market is just as damaging.
*Sterling paid a record $2.725 million to settle housing discrimination suit.
*Rollie Massimino: “I’m sorry,” he told Phipps, “but I’d never work for that son of a bitch. Ever.” Phipps, half asleep, sat up on his bed and asked what went wrong. “Here’s this guy,” Massimino said, “and he has this blonde bimbo with him, they have a bottle of champagne, they’re tanked. And Don looks at me and he says, ‘I wanna know why you think you can coach these niggers.’”
Massimino told Phipps he began screaming at Sterling and swore he’d rather die than become coach of the Clippers. “That,” said Phipps, “was life with Donald Sterling.”
On the tape, Donald Sterling says, “I love the black people.” I can’t vouch for his sincerity, but there is nothing in the DMZ/Deadspin tapes that belies that sentiment.
I'll use John Hinderaker's style of writing and say that I can't vouch for his sincerity, but I'll bet if Mel Gibson said he loves the Jews, we'd all believe him, right? Who cares if he went on an anti-Semitic rant while being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving? That doesn't mean he hates the Jews. I wasn't there, but I bet he was so inebriated that he had no idea what he says saying and probably was in a blackout anyway so he wouldn't have remembered. It makes no difference if his father was a holocaust denier either, because he wasn't with him in the car.
I think Sterling's words speak for themselves, but who are you going to believe: Me, or your lying eyes?