h1

of race cards…..

April 27, 2014

and broken records…….

The headlines certainly paint an ugly picture. The public reactions by those who found Donald Sterling’s “alleged” comments (CYA qualification by reporter) offensive, mostly folks of non-European heritage, were understandably angry. Jesse Jackson, of course, wants to make it another cause célèbre.

Obviously, the things Sterling said weren’t very nice, but it seems to me that something was missing from the story.

The only reference to the provenance of the remarks that somehow ended up on the editor’s desk was some vague mention of them being caught on tape by TMZ, the latter-day Tabloid journalism outfit that specializes in, well, gossip. Not exactly New York Times quality stuff, if you know what I mean.

That aspect of the story doesn’t sweeten up what Sterling supposedly said, of course, but it does kind of bring the story itself down to the same level as the event it threw on the fire to see if it would make a nice explosion.

The most important question from my perspective is not how are the authorities, going to disembowel Mr. Sterling, but how exactly was the supposed recording of him obtained in the first place? I mean, if he bellied up to a microphone and went on a rant or made a spontaneous phone call to the press, so be it. Break out the rotten tomatoes and less than fresh eggs. Throw an old shoe, even. However, if the wannabe journalists used the same methodology the paparazzi do to get shots of celebrities sitting on the can or engaging in some other private moment, then perhaps those who have been so successfully manipulated into getting their skivvies in a knot should ask how, why, and what are they going to do about it.

The flame-off that offended me in this whole flap was President Obama bellying up to the microphone to offer his two cents worth. When the first President of African heritage took over the Oval Office, I had hoped that, at long last, perhaps the festering sore of racial conflict that we hadn’t been able to shake could be healed by the man in the best position to heal it. He hasn’t met that expectation. In fact, throughout his first term in office, he pretty much avoided the topic, Now, safely settled into a second term, when he has an opening to lead and facilitate some cultural healing, he jumps on the bandwagon instead to join in another round of the same-old same-old with fist-pumpers of note and other camp followers.

We deserve better, regardless of ethnicity. I should think that reassuring, pro-active, and respect-worthy action by one of the most powerful men in the world would be far more newsworthy than the surreptitiously snagged snippets of some basketball team honcho who’s bank account apparently outperforms his character by a considerable stretch.

The United States has been dancing to this tune since I was in high school, and that was more than fifty years ago. Isn’t it time we changed the record?

 

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