Race debate in America must start from a fair-minded foundation

There’s not a lot in the news anymore about Donald Sterling; everyone being seemingly pleased with themselves and the outcome of the drama as it stands right now. That’s a good thing because now, as tempers are no longer on that slow boil, things can be reconsidered, if for no other reason than to affirm clearly that the decision made was the correct one.  Besides that, there’s supposed to be a big discussion going on now about race in America, at least that’s what I thought we were driving towards.  With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about some things.

As the public disseminates all the information surrounding this saga, we need to remember what the goal is, or should be, once everything is said and done.  Always, the main goal is the eradication of racially bigoted and insensitive words and actions.  The predicate other outcome hopefully will be the ease of racial tension in the country and the formation of across-the-street coalitions geared towards achieving and maintaining that rather utopian result.  Once the discussion is over, we then must live together with those whom we’d previously called to task for their actions.  We can only do that if we’ve dealt with them in a fair manner.

That only happens when we stop creating these “Gotcha!” moments for the sake of publicity.  Taping someone, without their knowledge, isn’t fair and quite possibly, isn’t legal either.  There are no winners in this battle of behavior when a victory is achieved in such an underhanded fashion.

Looking at the list of names calling for Sterling’s removal is a who’s-who of the sports and entertainment world.  Problem is that those people in their proverbial glass houses have chucked stones willy-nilly in the past, creating their own issues of race and inappropriate racially tinged speech.  It includes some who are thought to be in the running for the purchase of the squad, if Sterling relinquishes and decides to sell the team.  Check out this list from The Richest.

Blacks in America sometimes are inclined to forget our own fallible humanity and seek to hold other races accountable for actions or speech the same which often occurs within our own ranks.  It’s a trend of forgetfulness existing in the African-American community and one that I hope will swiftly change in lieu of this latest episode.

I’ve gone on record as not being that put out by what Donald Sterling said on tape because I’ve heard similar or worse coming from members of my own race.  Nor do I think he should be banned for life for this incident.  Maybe that comes later if his behavior doesn’t change.

Now though, I would have rather seen a hefty fine thrown at him in the form of large contributions to this minority charity or that one.  There’re a lot of schools out there that could use a large infusion of ready-to-spend cash.  At the very least, I’d rather create a teaching moment as much as possible for a person rather than have them go away from me both angry and unenlightened.

Most important, we need to stop punishing white people for speaking from the heart and laying bare that which is foremost on their minds in this much-needed debate.  Any good therapist will speak to the necessity of unbridled truth when attempting to repair a troubled relationship.  Things that are first and foremost on each of our minds must be heard.  That can only happen with the blessings of both communities.

Moving forward, we as African-Americans can’t put that accusing genie back inside his bottle.  However we can make certain that in the future our community isn’t used as ammunition for those seeking to hurt or injure another.  There’s still more to come out of this media event as Sterling prepares to fight to retain the squad.  We must be prepared to listen and then deal with any new allegations in an open-minded and fair manner.

I’m just saying, it’s the only way that we all win and come together as a united and viable community.

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