We are all mad at Donald Sterling, and with good reason. The owner of the Los Angeles Clippers is a disgusting man, and if the NBA doesn’t ban him for at least at year, well, it’s not even worth discussing. He’ll be banned for at least a year. Guaranteed.
What bothers me at times like this is the laziness of our anger. We are, at our core, very lame people when it comes to our emotional outbursts. It’s all very rapid fire, in that we direct our ire toward headline fodder and large red letters. Donald Sterling is the perfect example: His words are so disturbing, we can’t help but automatically, instinctively blast away. Awful guy! Dickhead! This is ridiculous! Brutal! The worst of the worst of the worst …
Meanwhile, we allow truly impactful racism to be carried out, trouble-free.
Put differently, Donald Sterling’s racist nonsense impacts us nary an iota. He’s a basketball owner who lives a wealthy life in California. The words are infuriating, but does his take of African-Americans have any bearing on my world? Or, really, the world? No.
But let’s talk about the south, and what’s happening to the voting rights of minorities.
Without much fanfare, and with 1 /1,000,000,000,000,000th of the attention directed toward Sterling, one Republican lawmaker after another has worked hard (and often succeeded) to limit the number of minorities able to vote. There’s nothing hypothetical about this take, or slanted toward the left. State by state, there have been repeated efforts to make it more arduous for African-American and Hispanics to successfully cast their ballots—via the requirements of photo IDs, via limiting the days and times polls are often, via myriad methods to make it more difficult for people to register. You can read about it in a ton of places, including a pretty thorough piece right here.
Though the conservative politicians have tried to defend themselves (liberal nonsense!), there is no genuine defense. The goal is simple: Minorities lean left. Stop them from voting, win elections.
Sterling’s words are typical racism. Voter suppression efforts are racism—put to action.
So where’s the anger?