Reading Skookum’s inciteful post A bigot’s money is still green got me thinking. Everyone is in a lather about Donald Sterling’s comments and the last thing the NAACP wants is for anyone to think critically about the complete picture. As Skook quoted:
“Sterling’s long-established pattern of bigotry and racist comments have not been a secret in the NBA. Yet until now, they have been tolerated and met with a gentle hand and a blind eye.”
As noted, Sterling has a history of racist behavior:
Peter Dreier, a professor at Occidental College, wrote a long post on Talking Points Memo, a liberal political website, probing the NAACP’s ongoing relationship with Sterling. One of the largest landlords in Los Angeles, Sterling has been sued multiple times over the years for residential discrimination against blacks and Latinos, and tenant abuse, as he tried to evict legal residents from their rent-controlled apartments. In 2009, he settled a $2.7 million rental lawsuit, the largest ever brought by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Sterling received his first Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP just before he agreed to settle the above case for about $2.7 million.
Now let’s examine a number of statements and events.
In addition to his first NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009, Sterling also received a Humanitarian Award from the NAACP in 2008. Neither will be rescinded.
For the NAACP, an organization whose mission is to fight discrimination in all its forms, this was obviously a conflict. After two days and a lot of condemnation of Sterling’s remarks from present and former players, current NBA franchise owners and even avid NBA fan President Obama, the LA chapter rescinded the award.
Sterling wasn’t stripped of all his NAACP Awards: He was also given a Humanitarian Award in 2008 and a President’s Award in 2009. Jenkins told reporters his chapter would not be rescinding those honors.
The NAACP is not the only organization which has benefited from Sterling’s largesse. He’s also made considerable donations to the United Negro College Fund and the Black Business Association. The amount is described as “millions.”
So what has Sterling given in the way of donations? NAACP President Leon Jenkins has described that as an “insignificant amount.”
At the same time Jenkins also had this to say:
Jenkins said the NAACP decided to honor Sterling because of “a body of work. Mr. Sterling’s organization has on a consistent basis brought in the minority community. He has also over the years contributed to a number of minority charities. Compared to other L.A. franchises, his organization gave more money than the others.”
Jenkins said that the NAACP had been working closely with Sterling on contributions to the black community in southern California, including creating an endowment at a predominantly black college in the LA area and a scholarship program for black students at UCLA.
Call me silly, but that sounds like a lot more than an “insignificant amount.”
Jenkins indicated that the money donated by Sterling would be returned and added a fascinating ampersand- Jenkins was willing to forgive Sterling:
“God teaches us to forgive, and the way I look at it, after a sustained period of proof to the African American community that those words don’t reflect his heart, I think there’s room for forgiveness. I wouldn’t be a Christian if I said there wasn’t,” Jenkins said.
Why they would do that is pretty obvious:
“We are negotiating with him about giving more moneys to African American students at UCLA, and so we are in preliminary discussions,” Jenkins said. He also noted, however, they had not spoken since the scandal broke.
Money bought its way into the heart of the NAACP and more money will find forgiveness. Without a doubt that money has done good for the black community in LA and its drying up would certainly be harmful. That’s why the NAACP held its nose and weathered the smell of racism from Sterling and bestowed upon him one award already and was prepared to add another.
In this light, all the outrage takes on a stupid pallor.
Let’s be honest. The NAACP and Sterling need each other. Sterling has racist tendencies for sure, but the NAACP was willing to overlook them until TMZ ripped the blanket off. Their relationship was uncomfortable, but symbiotic. It’s almost a domestic squabble that the two should be allowed to work out together. It’d be best for both sides.
Harry Reid spoke of Barack Obama as a “light-skinned” African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”
Reid didn’t lose his job. Obama forgave him.
Neither Sharpton nor Jackson pushed their way to the floor of the Senate to make demands and now all they will do in what they do best- inflame an already bad situation and find a way to both aggrandize and enrich themselves without regard for the fallout.
Bill Clinton once said that Obama should be getting Clinton coffee.
As Skook said, a bigot’s money is still green, but a prostitute doesn’t really care from where the green money comes either.