Monday, April 28, 2014

Off-topic: on Cliven Bundy, Donald Sterling, and Jesse Jackson's "Hymietown"

One day a couple of weeks ago, I was trapped in the car driving across state to take depositions when I heard Cliven Bundy defending his refusal to pay the government fees that similarly situated ranchers pay without protest. Bundy came off like a first-class weirdo. And that was before he said that black people were better off as slaves. His racist implosion did the country a favor because it took the wind out of the sails of his kooky followers.

Now we have Donald Sterling. Sterling criticized his mistress for associating with black people. What more can be said about such idiocy, especially from a man who owns a professional sports team in a sport dominated by  blacks?

The good thing is that the intolerance to Bundy and Sterling's remarks was widespread and seems far more indicative of our culture than the hateful views of Bundy and Sterling.

That's not to say all is well with race in the United States. We've come a long way, but we still have a ways to go. The greatest victims of injustice in the criminal justice system now and for as long as this country has existed are black men. Race was an animating factor in the injustice to Brian Banks and, we think, the Hofstra falsely accused. We can name many others, too, but those are the most prominent false rape cases in recent years.

The most dangerous strain of racism isn't the wealthy white nutcase who talks about the good old days when "the negro" picked cotton. Those nutcases are rarer and rarer with each passing year, and their views are widely renounced. The most dangerous strain of racism is the kind that isn't blatant, that isn't renounced, and that you sometimes can't put your finger on. It's the kind that tells black boys they'd damn well better plead guilty because no juror is ever going to believe they didn't rape that girl. Ask Brian Banks. Views like that are tough to change.

There is a rather intriguing footnote to the Sterling case. According to this site: "Jesse Jackson appeared on ESPN and called for a boycott of Clippers games by the players, their families, black fans and by white people who view blacks and whites as equals. Jackson also said Sterling should be suspended immediately for an length of time to be determined."

What do they say about glass houses? This is the same Jesse Jackson who, in 1984, referred to Jews as "Hymies" and to New York City as "Hymietown." Then he said he had no recollection of saying it. Then he denied saying it. Finally, he admitted it and apologized to the Jewish community for it.

Donald Sterling is Jewish.  Just sayin'.