So, Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, has been revealed as an undeniable racist douchebag due to a taped conversation he had with his girlfriend V. Stiviano. The recording was obtained by – of all websites – TMZ, and the rest of the news world followed suit. Sterling evidently has a problem with black people and how his lady friend has been associating with them:
“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.”
He also seems to have a particular problem with Magic Johnson maybe because of a little Instagram photo of him and Stiviano:
“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.”
After this convo came to light, more of the recording surfaced that exposed more of Sterling’s contempt for black folks coming to his games. Keep in mind that he has a team full of black people:
V: I don’t understand, I don’t see your views. I wasn’t raised the way you were raised.
DS: Well then, if you don’t feel—don’t come to my games. Don’t bring black people, and don’t come.
V: Do you know that you have a whole team that’s black, that plays for you?
DS: You just, do I know? I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have—Who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners, that created the league?
But Sterling’s recent recording is not his only moment of assholery. He has been showing off his lack of personality over the decades during his horrendous career. In a 1983 conversation he had with a then-potential coach Rollie Massimino while sipping on some champagne with a blonde mistress, he asks, “I wanna know why you think you can coach these niggers?” Massimino, according to Paul Phillps, the Clipper’s general manager (1982-4), screamed at Sterling and swore never to coach the Clippers.
In a 2011 lawsuit against the Clippers, Elgin Baylor, former general manager and Hall of Famer, brought up the troubled owner’s name. Baylor charges that Sterling had a racist attitude towards a former NBA player Danny Manning:
The lawsuit, which was obtained by The Times on Wednesday night, alleges that Sterling once said of Manning: “I’m offering a lot of money for a poor Black kid.”
The civil lawsuit also states that NBA Commissioner David Stern was present when Sterling made the remark about Manning.
Several pages later, Baylor claims that Sterling once told him that “he [Sterling] wanted the Clippers team to be composed of ‘Poor Black boys from the South’ and a White head coach.”
Sterling has also been the subject a housing settlement lawsuit in 2009. The slumlord has been charged with discrimination against blacks, Hispanics and families with kids at a series of apartment buildings he owns in and around Los Angeles:
The Justice Department sued the Sterlings three years ago, accusing them of favoring Korean tenants while seeking to exclude blacks and families with children. Through their Beverly Hills Properties, the Sterlings own and manage about 119 apartment buildings with some 5,000 units in Los Angeles County, according to the Justice Department.
In court filings, Justice Department lawyers presented evidence that the Sterlings made statements “indicating that African Americans and Hispanics were not desirable tenants and that they preferred Korean tenants” occupy buildings they owned in Koreatown.
It was 2002, and Donald Sterling was talking to Sumner Davenport, one of his four top property supervisors, about a tenant at the Ardmore Apartments. Already the largest landowner in Beverly Hills, Sterling had recently acquired the Ardmore as part of his move to extend his real estate empire eastward toward Koreatown and downtown LA. As he did, Sterling “wanted tenants that fit his image,” according to testimony Davenport gave in a discrimination lawsuit brought against Sterling in 2003 by 19 tenants and the nonprofit Housing Rights Center. (That case ended in a confidential settlement in 2005; attorneys for the Center declined to comment for this story. In a separate suit, also concluded in 2005, Davenport claimed Sterling sexually harassed her, and lost. She declined comment. The Magazine has obtained depositions in both cases.)
When Sterling first bought the Ardmore, he remarked on its odor to Davenport. “That’s because of all the blacks in this building, they smell, they’re not clean,” he said, according to Davenport’s testimony. “And it’s because of all of the Mexicans that just sit around and smoke and drink all day.” He added: “So we have to get them out of here.” Shortly after, construction work caused a serious leak at the complex. When Davenport surveyed the damage, she found an elderly woman, Kandynce Jones, wading through several inches of water in Apartment 121. Jones was paralyzed on the right side and legally blind. She took medication for high blood pressure and to thin a clot in her leg. Still, she was remarkably cheerful, showing Davenport pictures of her children, even as some of her belongings floated around her.
Jones had repeatedly walked to the apartment manager’s office to plead for assistance, according to sworn testimony given by her daughter Ebony Jones in the Housing Rights Center case. Kandynce Jones’ refrigerator dripped, her dishwasher was broken, and her apartment was always cold. Now it had flooded. Davenport reported what she saw to Sterling, and according to her testimony, he asked: “Is she one of those black people that stink?” When Davenport told Sterling that Jones wanted to be reimbursed for the water damage and compensated for her ruined property, he replied: “I am not going to do that. Just evict the bitch.”
Repairs never came. The shower stopped working, and the toilet wouldn’t flush; Jones needed to use a plunger and disposed of waste tissue in bags. Kandynce Jones departed the home she loved but that caused her so much grief when she passed away, on July 21, 2003, at age 67.
What I find funny about the whole mess is hearing that Sterling was going to get an NAACP award! What the bloody hell? Is the organization that out of touch to not know how this fools is, let alone did some research as to the story behind this billionaire bigot? They declined to go through with it, but still…Hello?
The lesson with Donald Sterling is that racism doesn’t always have to come in white sheets or with Nazi paraphernalia. It does’t have to wave Confederate flags or come from poor backgrounds. It doesn’t have to come in the form of racial epithets. It doesn’t have to be any of those, and more, to be considered racist.
Racism, the most powerful, illusive and destructive form, can come in the form of business suits. It can come from political and corporate offices. It can come in the form of policies or money making ventures. And if done right, it can be done in a way where it’s difficult to prove and hard to combat against. Sterling is not that brilliant, but he still amassed a huge fortune.
Obviously, Sterling has had enough privilege to be overtly racist and yet grow into a powerful billionaire. How many more white billionaires out there have that racist mindframe?