Don Sterling has been hitting the headlines hard as of late. His presence has been so overwhelming that even intellectual emcees like Homeboy Sandman had to analyze the situation. He went as far as saying that “Black People Are Cowards”. I can’t say, for myself, that I agree wholeheartedly with his opinion. I can, however, point out that he made quite a few encompassing points. Even if I’m not feeling his total disposition, Homeboy Sandman wanted something more from us.
Still, I would really want to caution Homeboy Sandman about the analogies to education. Comparisons to “kicking out teachers from tenure” and “kicking out kids” gets dicey and promotes an imbalanced ideal that has not been fruitful on either side.
But the former is neither here or there. Let me regain my focus.
The Problem with The LA Clippers (And Black People)
The initial problem doesn’t have to do with “Black people” in a total sense. You see, this issue that he has is with basketball players on a basketball team. To be more exact, this has to do with basketball players on aPROFESSIONAL basketball team. So, these men came together and decided to handle the situation the best way they knew how. What they did was this: they held a silent protest and threw down practice jerseys (shirts or whatever) and wore stuff backwards.
Did they sit out the game? No.
Did they throw the game? No.
Did they boycott the organization? No.
Should we think differently of them? That depends on who you ask.
Am I impressed at what they are doing? Nah. I would have probably cursed Don Sterling’s name to the high heavens.
Should We Question the LA Clippers?
Before I get into the meat of what is going on, let me ask this question: who the fuck are we to question, or demand, what they do as basketball players?
I ask that because I was guilty of it in my last blog about this subject. I made my commentary about being surprised if anything happened. Hell, I wanted them to protest just as much as the next person. But, I gave it a little more thought. I realized that there could be a different approach.
Also, I present the query above because there are more ways to get what there is to get out of a situation. You see, you are dealing with people that have a choice to make. They can either “fight the power” or “keep it moving”. As much as we think they should do certain things, it is ultimately up to them. We can think what we want. However, we are not in their shoes. So, all of these well-meant opinions don’t amount to a heap of shit.
And those opinions include mine as well.
LA Clippers and The Usefulness of Protest
I do love how everyone hearkens to a time past in which we, as a people, would “fight for our rights”. You see, I agree with that sentiment of us being way too passive in situations. As I thought about it, I realized that everyone wasn’t protesting back then either. You had your marchers and you had your TV watchers. To be fair, everyone was not getting hosed while a dog bit their private parts.
The above paragraph leads to this statement: sometimes, you have to fight from the inside instead of the outside. Don Sterling is a filthy rich man. He is also a racist (soon to be former) owner of the LA Clippers and that infamous slumlord known for being racially selective to his tenants.
The LA Clippers Showed No Cowardice
The players cannot be thought of as cowards because they did SOMETHING. Cowards would have gone right along with the situation and gave no message. However, they are on the inside of a business. Think of it as a house. You can either demolish the shit or you can restructure it from the inside.
Legally, there is not much that could have been done to rectify this situation. Still, it was imperative to send a message. That message was sent when Don Sterling started losing sponsors for his team and was eventually put on an indefinite suspension from the league. With that, changes can be made. Then, things can go on along without a hitch.
Plus, what is to be said about the other people in the organization? Do we actually want to make them suffer to send a message? Don Sterling was not going to be hurt any more than he already has been. He is still going to be rich. He is still going to be racist. So, should we sacrifice a whole bunch of people for that one? Or do we play it smart and put him in a position of “losing something” and keeping everything else intact?
They went for the latter.
The LA Clippers Did Better Than A Simple Protest
We have to realize that protesting works when there is a suitable solution that presents progress. This one situation would do very little toward Black struggle. The bigger issue with Black struggle is that we have not found our own independence. Protest screams acceptance. It is 2014: we have to get beyond acceptance. We have to be productive.