Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Donald Sterling Smokescreen

Donald Sterling's name was recently inducted into the public hall of race shame. Along with George Zimmerman – now notorious for murdering Trayvon Martin – his actions have sparked outrage from various people. And like Zimmerman, it seems that most of us have avoided facing the real issues at work. And like the mainstream media, most of us continue to confuse racism & prejudice.

Personally, I felt the conversation sounded staged; neither speaker felt authentic to me. (If it was, they both seemed more than a little out of touch with what's real.) Pretending it was legit though, my primary concern wouldn't be what one man with too much money, and too little soul, thinks of people that don't look, act, or think like him. My primary concern would be the position he occupies – and others like him – that allows him to impact the livelihood of others based primarily on so-called race.

For every Sterling who gets spotlighted, there are countless others who think the same, that carry on unseen, and discreet. I'm not denying there is such a thing as racism that is experienced, but it goes much deeper than personal prejudice. Everyone exhibits prejudice in some form, to some degree; it's hard to make a decision without it. When prejudice towards others is grafted into a pyramidal, systematic division of the populace, that either prevents or propagates opportunity, then we have the man-made invention known as racism. What's the greater issue behind these breaking news stories?

Put plainly:

-Prejudice is saying “such-and-such people are lazy/ugly/evil/etc”, or only befriending people who look a particular way.
-Racism is not promoting someone at the job due to their name or appearance, or denying a tenant/home buyer for the same reasons.
-Anyone can be prejudiced; only someone who is in a position to diminish another's quality of life can be racist.

The Sterling controversy almost bypassed me completely, if not for a friend emailing me the audio clip. I'm glad they shared it, for one reason. It reminded me how delicate our world really is, and how easily our thoughts become things. Racism is probably the most pervasive, organized paradox on Earth. It isn't real, in reality; but, fed by beliefs and cultural concepts, it has become a mode of perception that has made our physiological differences of greater value & significance in our minds, than the equally shared ability to create and conceive...any type of life we wish to live. Wow.

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