The Don Sterling affair has given way to the “Finger Wagging Olympics,” as Kareem Abdul-Jabbarhas colorfully put it. Given that those on the right have participated just as aggressively, if not more so, than those on the left, I urge them to bear the following considerations in mind.
First, Sterling had a private conversation, in his own car, with his girlfriend. Unbeknownst to him, this conversation was recorded. Yet scarcely anyone seems to be in the least bit concerned that the line between the private and the public has now been decisively obliterated—and all for the cause of outing, not a terrorist or gangster, but an old white “racist.”
Secondly, Sterling is being crucified in the court of public opinion, and by the National Basketball Association, for a thought-crime. Let’s be crystal clear about this. Sterling hadn’t been caught on tape plotting to harm someone, much less actually harm anyone. In fact, he neither hurled nor even uttered any racial epithets.
Sterling is being made to suffer a humiliating social death—a figurative crucifixion—not for what he did, but for what he is said to have thought.
Thirdly, in fueling the campaign against Sterling, the right has given the left a helping hand in rendering “racism” a limitless—and, thus, meaningless—concept. Sterling supplies jobs—extremely lucrative jobs—for blacks, has a black girlfriend, and has been extraordinarily generous with his own resources vis-à-vis black causes. In fact, such is Sterling’sphilanthropy that the NAACP was preparing to bestow upon him its distinguished “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
So, now, a white “racist” is one who avoids blacks and a white “racist” doesn’t avoid blacks.
A white “racist” dates blacks and a white “racist” doesn’t date blacks.
A white “racist” does what he can to keep blacks unemployed and a “white racist” goes to great lengths to employ blacks.
A white “racist” discriminates against blacks and a white “racist” discriminates in favor of blacks.
A white “racist” is one who seeks to keep “the black man down” and a white “racist” seeks to make millionaires out of blacks.
A white “racist” cares nothing about assisting the black underprivileged and a white “racist” is one who gives a small fortune of his own resources to helping blacks.
In any other setting, on any other topic, the foregoing contradictions would strike the most cognitively challenged among us with all of the force of a body blow. Not so when it comes to the issue of white “racism,” however.
Sterling’s actions don’t matter, you see.For privately imploring his girlfriend not to publicly cohort with the black men who, presumably, he suspects she is spending her time with privately, Sterling is reduced by commentators on the right and left to the incarnation of evil. Words now mean more—infinitely more, judging from this incident—than deeds. With one swift stroke, our topsy-turvy culture has spun the wisdom of generations on its head and made it possible to accuse and destroy any white person of “racism.”
Fourthly, by stretching and pulling the net of “racism” so widely that any white person at any time and in any place can get caught up in it, self-declared conservatives have aided and abetted the left in paving the way for the federal government to annex even more power to itself in the future. The pretext of combating “racism,” doubtless more than any other, has served as the federal government’s Trojan horse in its efforts to transform itself from the handmaiden of the states envisioned by the Founders into the Leviathan that it is today.
Finally, though they wouldn’t dare to admit it, even to themselves, those on the right have joined in on the Sterling feeding frenzy for the sake of proving to the world that they are not the “racist” monsters—the Sterlings—that Democrats and leftists are forever making them out to be. Yet they either don’t realize, or don’t care to realize, that in addition to engendering cowardice and cruelty, the strategy of joining a lynch mob for the sake of gaining moral credit in the eyes of your mortal enemies is self-defeating.
Average everyday folks—you know, those who don’t make their livelihoods publishing commentary or speaking on a microphone in front of cameras—simply don’t obsess over this kind of stuff. If their moral sensibilities are offended here, they are rocked by the treatment to which Sterling is now being subjected. The “finger wagging Olympics” that every media figure and his (or her) mother is rushing to participate in strikes the average person not as a circus, but a circus freak show, something at once intriguing and revolting.
As for the left, it should go without saying that it will never spare a single resource to reinforce in the popular imagination the belief that the right is “racist” to the bone. And in doing their best to scream more loudly than anyone else, those on the right only render themselves more vulnerable to the charge that they “doth protest too much.”