[Marxism] The real tragedy of Donald Sterling's racism: it took this long for us to notice | Kevin B Blackistone | Comment is free | theguardian.com

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Apr 28 06:16:43 MDT 2014

As riots exploded across America in early April 1968 in the immediate 
wake of Rev Martin Luther King's assassination, President Lyndon Johnson 
went on a Capitol Hill offensive to pass a law he hoped would, in part, 
quell some of the violence and best honor the man just slain. A day 
after King was buried, the Fair Housing Act was passed.

And in the nearly half-century since the enactment of that bedrock piece 
of civil rights legislation, which outlawed housing discrimination, 
there hasn't been a greater offender of it, perhaps, than longtime NBA 
owner Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Yet it was just this Saturday that there arose a hue and cry for the NBA 
to act against Sterling. It came in reaction to an audio recording 
allegedly of Sterling, who is white, telling his mixed-race girlfriend 
not to bring black people to his team's games.

Decades of racist policy renting housing in Los Angeles, which turned 
Sterling into a real-estate mogul wealthy enough to buy and run a 
professional sports team, didn't elicit any such furor. But decades of 
lousy Clippers basketball under Sterling's stewardship turned the 
Clippers into the butt of late-night TV jokes. The Clippers were laughed 
at for losing, laughed at for being cheap, laughed at for moving in with 
the star-studded Lakers, laughed at for being a second-class franchise 
in a first-class sports league.

But all those years, not enough people looked at Donald Sterling as the 
racist landlord the law so bore him out to be.


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