May, 2014 - Bettina Network's Blog

Archive for May, 2014

Sterling and Company

Monday, May 5th, 2014

copyright Bettina Network, inc. 2014

We should not be amazed when such things happen, but we always claim to be no matter how often we have to act outraged – as though this was an unusual happening for us in these United States.

We are especially outraged if this happens in the north – most particularly if it happens in those ‘race free’ zones called New England and/or California.  This kind of thing is only expected if it happens in the deep South.  But it seems to me this happens much more often in these ‘race free’ zones.

I’m sure you would expect that there would be a fairly heated discussion over breakfast in one or more of the Bettina Homes.  And not to disappoint here is a bit of a summary of a couple breakfasts merged into one blog.

The consensus was the outrage that was felt over the NAACP’s singling out Sterling for a second Lifetime Achievement Award.  We thought those awards were given to those who worked to eliminate racism, not to those who worked to make sure it was intensified and the old Jim Crow culture maintained.  We must have been mistaken because clearly the NAACP is doing its best to award those who have done a great deal to keep separate and unequal alive and well and functioning in this society.  Maybe it is afraid its mandate will leave and the organization will have to dismantle itself if society acts otherwise and we move into a space where minorities and women are free and equal.

Most folks at breakfast were upset that this happened at all.  Most blamed the entire NAACP organization not just the Los Angeles group because the National Office could have stepped in and done something to bring sanity back to the LA chapter before the award business went as far as it did, but that national office did nothing until all of this news broke and all were totally embarrassed.

It was interesting that one man took the blame for the entire NAACP organization and stepped down.  However, that did not satisfy those in these Bettina Breakfast conversations.  Its like a large corporation having its CEO step down for something that permeated the institutional structure and for which many have blame.  We think these kind of actions have permeated the entire structure of the NAACP and more than this one man stepping down needs to be done to make things right.

The conflicts and contradictions in this event were clearly outlined and sometimes, during breakfast,  caused a bit of hilarity, because clearly without a good sense of humor we would all be insane over such events.

Sterling, being Jewish and clearly of an age where the holocaust would not be foreign to him was one of the conflicts and contradiitons outlined and talked about.  Having a young woman who described Sterling as being a “father figure” to her – with the young woman being part African American and part Latina was another very tragic conflict and contradiciton.  The Clippers being an organization supported by thousands even after the United States Department of Justice stepped in; even after one of their own sued because of the ‘plantation’ environment of the Clippers and on and on and on, makes a very strong statement about the lack of sincerity towards the elimination of racism and sexism within the U. S. Society by its own citizens.  Does being a sports team allow such to fester for so long a period of time complete with awards from Civil Rights organizations to justify and cover-up the muck of the racism and the sexism being so blatantly and publicly practiced?

This was not new to anyone, and Sterling’s attitudes were widely known and had been addressed by several of our organizations, yet nothing was done about it and all of the many organizational structures in place which should have ferreted this out long before the sore ruptured and the pus poured out on society did nothing – the MEDIA? – the COURT SYSTEM? – the CIVIL RIGHTS groups? – the JOHN AND JANE Q public who knew about all of this but still bought tickets to Clipper Games? – the CLIPPER MANAGEMENT TEAM? –  THE TEAMS THEY PLAYED …………….and many more.

Since this was brought through our Court System and still was given the go ahead to continue on the path of this extreme racism and sexism it calls into question what we like to parade out as an oft touted structure praised as the keystone of our country’s greatness the  “Rule of Law”.

Our Conclusions!!!  The United States is very comfortable with people like Sterling.  Its just that we don’t want them ‘outed’ because then we have to react in a way which violates our history and brings up for the whole world to see,  a reminder of from whence we try to tell people we have come and are no more.  Our public story is that we have moved away from slavery of Africans, we have moved away from the Jim Crow society which once thrived in the United States, we have moved away from taking away from minorities their rights supposedly guaranteed to them by the U. S. Constitution and other laws,we have moved away from discriminating against women.

But have we really or have we simply changed the way we discriminate – changed how our racism and sexism is expressed – changed how the oppression we dump on the minorities and women in our midst is acted out – and most of all (the biggy), changed how we engage in denial of everything so we can continue the practice.

We really aren’t that put out  as long as we can continue the actions; as long as we can continue being a racist, sexist society.

How does sexism fit into this scenario?  What is more symbolic of the pain experienced by and the convoluted ways we have of inflicting sexism than the experience of the young woman – Black and Latina – who sees someone with the views and practices of Sterling – as a father figure.  What more pain could one internalize and survive!  How twisted does one’s life have to be to find that not only acceptable, but feel that is a great way to live and a great role model of fatherhood! This whole business is sick and what it says about all of us is not pretty.

However, it did make great breakfast conversation.  And, as one woman said, at one breakfast – ‘what a relief to be able to talk about something like this without worrying about ‘political correctness.’  She felt freed up and was going to take back with her an independence of acting and thinking in the areas of sexism and racism with which she would approach the subject.  Mostly, her experience was a validation of herself as a fully thinking and properly acting human being who was not going to be intimidated in her views on the subjects and would express them more clearly and act on her thoughts and beliefs.  We hope that is a good thing!


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