Arsenal for Nate and Greg Talking Sports: Donald Sterling Edition

“Let’s not tell the victims of racism that they need to act a certain way in order to not be victimized by racism. Let’s tell the perpetrators of racism that they need to stop perpetrating racism.”

red-A-198Nate and Greg wanted to talk about the Donald Sterling controversy, so we recorded a bonus segment on Monday night, which did not make it into Episode 82 for time reasons. Before it goes completely out of date, we’re releasing it here as a lightly-edited, standalone segment.


Discussion Points:

– Why Sterling’s housing discrimination matters a lot
– Is pro sports getting better at ejecting racists?
– Will Sterling take retribution on the NBA?
– Institutional Racism vs. Bigotry
– The global, non-white future of the NBA

AFD 82 Bonus – Donald Sterling

Recommended readings

Melissa Beck: “Like Like Like a Red Nose”
NYT: “Clippers Support a Ban, Beginning a Transition”
AFD (Nate): “Donald Sterling is Literally Hitler”
Clutch Magazine: “When It Comes to Racism, Why Are Black People Expected to Fight It Alone?”

Not recommended

– Anything by Homeboy Sandman.





Donald Sterling is Literally Hitler

Apparently I haven’t delved to the deep dark depths of the National Basketball Association, because it came as a bit of surprise to me that Los Angles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is a massive, old-fashioned racist. Sterling’s former girlfriend(?) V. Stiviano leaked a bizarre audio tape, in which he gets angry she had taken an Instagram picture with basketball legend Magic Johnson (!) and Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. By the end of the tape, he’s expressing a plantation-owner mentality towards his black players:

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?

Uhhh….. I’m pretty sure Chris Paul and Blake Griffin could easily find another owner to pay their salaries. And I’m pretty sure Clippers fans are flocking to LA’s long-forgotten basketball team to watch Paul, Griffin and Doc Rivers, not to thank Sterling for decades of terrible ownership. Speaking of Doc, I’m wondering how much he knew about this situation, given that he once played for the Clippers. He has refused a phone call with Sterling, and seems focused on getting past a pesky Warriors team before he really takes on this firestorm.

But forget basketball for a second — Sterling’s racism has real-world impacts. He’s a slumlord who has targeted blacks, Hispanics, and families with children for eviction, getting himself convicted in the largest ever housing discrimination settlement.

But to get the whole bizarre picture, you really need to listen to the full audio. It’s sounds like a parody of a nurse attempting to understand the antebellum views of a senile geezer. His entire premise on why people of different ethnicities can’t be friends comes down to culture — that’s the way it is — a nice little circular argument that I have actually heard from someone who styled themselves as intelligent. I’m sorry but “the culture” has changed a lot since Sterling bought the team in the 80s. I love this particular section, where they go full Godwin:

V: It’s like saying, “Let’s just persecute and kill all of the Jews.”

DS: Oh, it’s the same thing, right?

V: Isn’t it wrong? Wasn’t it wrong then? With the Holocaust? And you’re Jewish, you understand discrimination.

DS: You’re a mental case, you’re really a mental case. The Holocaust, we’re comparing with—

V: Racism! Discrimination.

DS: There’s no racism here. If you don’t want to be… walking… into a basketball game with a certain… person, is that racism?


In another interesting bit, Sterling, nee Tonkowitz, talks about how “black Jews” are treated like “dogs.” Black Jews? Maybe he’s thinking of Palestinians?

Oh and also there’s a section where Sterling says Stiviano (who is black and Mexican) is a nice “white or Latina girl.” He needs to step up his slave-master game, because they certainly were under no impressions they were sleeping with white women.

The other NBA owners and new commissioner Adam Silver need to force this guy out as fast as possible. We don’t need another Marge Schott situation, where it took the better part of a decade to oust the Nazi-loving owner of the Cincinnati Reds. At least Eric Miller, Sterling’s son-in-law and Director of Operations for the Clippers, called Sterling’s comments “deplorable and disgusting” in a statement that could cost him a job.

If Donald Sterling still wants to own a team, he picked the wrong league. Not only is the NBA largely black, basketball is a global sport with a growing following in Asia, Africa, South America, in addition to Europe. The NBA already has had stars from China, Argentina, and Germany. The new faces of basketball are fundamentally incompatible with Donald Sterling’s plantation mindset and the NBA needs to force him out immediately.

No shock there: Bundy a raging racist

So it turns out that Cliven Bundy is a big old racist who believes Blacks were better off enslaved and use too much government assistance.

So to recap: Bundy asserts that he can use government resources and not pay his share of usage fees for two decades because he has a made-up (and poorly researched) ideology allowing him to reject the existence of that government — but something-something-black-people-using-resources?

Yeah that makes a whole lot of sense. “No one could have predicted” that the aging white man (whose religion rejected Black membership as recently as the 1970s) who is a rallying point for all the white supremacist anti-government militias in the country would be a raging racist against Black Americans.

Good thing all those prominent Republicans in office and in the media rallied to his cause without doing their homework, just in time for him to be revealed as a gigantic bigot who misses slavery. Oh wait, they don’t care, because they also did that after the patriarch of “Duck Dynasty” waxed poetic about the good old days before the Civil Rights Movement.

(For our in-depth analysis of Cliven Bundy’s deeply misguided position on the Federal government, listen to Arsenal For Democracy 81 from earlier this week.)

But the real question is this: is it inherently more objectionable that he’s a vicious racist or that he rejects the existence of the Federal government and has brought in heavily armed supporters to resist the government’s attempts to clear his cattle off public lands for refusing to pay a cumulative one million dollars in back fees over two decades?

I have solution to all our ills, says Russian white supremacist

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a lunatic elected white supremacist Russian politician (born in often race-troubled Kazakhstan) has identified the source of all Russia’s global image problems as that goddam Mongol letter (“ы”) being in the alphabet, goshdarnit!

“Only animals make this sound, ‘ы- ы,'” he said, adding that the regular ‘и’ (‘i’) is enough for the Russian alphabet. ‘Ы’ doesn’t exist in any other European language, argued Zhirinovsky. “This primitive, Asiatic sound is the reason people don’t like us in Europe,” he told lawmakers.

Yep, nailed it. THAT is why “people don’t like” Russia “in Europe” these days. Nothing to do with invading Crimea.

The politician seemed to have a longstanding issue with the “guttural” letter, which he claimed his son wasn’t able to pronounce as a child. “He once told me, ‘Dad, dad, look, there’s a ‘мишка’,” the Russian word for ‘bear.’ “I thought ‘What ‘мишка’? A bear? But he meant ‘мышка’,” the word for “mouse.”

Curiously, the same man just last month called for Russia to annex back its Central Asian republics as “subject” states. Because nothing gets rid of “nasty Asiatic” influences in your culture like re-occupying your imperial-era Asiatic conquests.

Then again, as he is also famous for advocating that people only kiss one another on the forehead, I guess he’s not one for embracing bulletproof logic. Not that racists typically are, really, I suppose.

Such irredentist rhetoric — advocating for seizing territories formerly held by one’s country, to reunite with ethnic populations abroad — is swirling around Russia’s political class in full fury right now to justify the Crimea invasion. He’s far from alone on that point. Small wonder then that many non-Russian folks in Central Asian countries with large Russian populations, such as Kyrgyzstan, are starting to worry that they are next.

And Kyrgyz and Kazakh speakers are definitely not nostalgic for the idea of returning to direct rule by those who see their languages as inferior and “primitive,” as Zhirinovsky labeled them.

Beside the Russian and Belarussian Cyrillic alphabets, the letter ‘ы’ also exists in most of the Turkic languages spoken in former Soviet republics, including Kazakh and Kyrgyz, which use the same alphabet.

The vowel is widely used in Kazakh and Kyrgyz, sometimes several times in the same word. “Ырыс алды—ынтымақ,” (“Yrys aldy—yntymaq”) reads a Kazakh proverb, which translates as “There is no abundance without solidarity.” The letter ‘ы’ also makes up most of the vowels of a well-known Kyrgyz saying— “ырысы жоктун ырымы күч” (“yrysy zhoktun yrymy kuch”)—that means “a person with no confidence believes in superstition.”

The history of Russian rule over Central Asia is largely one of Russian white-euro supremacy being inflicted on the local populations to try to stamp out their languages and cultures.

Death penalty primarily in cases with white victim

Sociological Images just posted about how the race of the victim determines whether the perpetrator gets the death penalty.

Even though half of all homicide victims are black, 77% of cases that result in the death penalty have a white victim. That’s a pretty clear indicator of what kind of lives we value.

The data is since 1976, and an Amnesty International report from 1990 shows similar patterns. Things might be improving (or they might not; it’s hard to find this kind of information), but they are still pretty bad:

A January 2003 study released by the University of Maryland concluded that race and geography are major factors in death penalty decisions. Specifically, prosecutors are more likely to seek a death sentence when the race of the victim is white and are less likely to seek a death sentence when the victim is African-American.

A 2007 study of death sentences in Connecticut conducted by Yale University School of Law revealed that African-American defendants receive the death penalty at three times the rate of white defendants in cases where the victims are white. In addition, killers of white victims are treated more severely than people who kill minorities, when it comes to deciding what charges to bring.

But let’s be cautious in how we handle this information: the solution should not be to give more people the death penalty, but to give fewer people the death penalty.

This post originally appeared on Starboard Broadside.