What Can We Learn from Donald Sterling’s Racism?

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Via latimes.com


In a matter of a few days, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was recorded spouting an array of racially-charged comments to being banned for life from the NBA and fined $2.5 million. After Sterling was heard telling his former girlfriend, among other things, that he didn’t want her to have black friends on Instagram or to be seen at Clippers games with black people, the NBA’s commissioner, David Silver, shared his feelings in a press conference,

“We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling’s views. They have simply no place in the NBA. I think my response was as a human being, and I used the word distraught before. . . I mean, there was a certain somberness, and frankly, I felt sort of most strongly and personally for that team. While this affects every player and anyone associated with the NBA family, for those players and those coaches to go out and do what they need to do and play at the highest level in the world and have them hanging over this I think caused me to have a certain sadness I would say about the entire situation.”

Sports seem to be rife with racism. We’ve seen it recently with the Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin episode. What happened with Incognito and Martin, and other racially sensitive issues, are difficult to comprehend but not nearly as offensive as Sterling’s outbursts.

One must wonder what would possess a man of Sterling’s intelligence to make gross generalizations about any culture, especially considering that Sterling is of Jewish descent. Of course, Sterling claimed that he was not the person in the recording, which seems highly unlikely. Are there lessons about social media veiled in this disgusting episode? Perhaps there is something to be learned about entitlement.

There are likely a myriad of things to teach our children and our students about sensitivity, racism and privacy, to name a few.

Unfortunately, it’s too late for Donald Sterling.

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Mark Barnes is the Founder of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series, The uNseries, and other books from some of education's most reputable teachers and leaders. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Connect with @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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