Tag Archives: racist

How not to be racist in America

It’s simple, really.  Don’t get involved with other races, ever.

The accusations against Donald Sterling have a particularly personal sting with me.  Not just because the whole town is ganging up on one guy, not just because he’s a fellow Jew, but because I too am in the property management business.

The epithet “evil Jewish slumlord” has been hurled at me quite regularly, generally as a joke, which gets an uneasy laugh out of me.  But underneath also a disturbing bit of entrenched anti-Semitism.

Not to divulge too many details about my dealings – but when you run properties, on any level, you piss people off.  It doesn’t matter how much you put yourself out for others.  You’re not Santa Claus or a miracle worker, you’re beholden to material laws, market forces and the banks.  And tenants tend to take out their aggressions on you for things you have no control over.

Sometimes, they take advantage of your legal liability, and threaten to sue you no matter how unfounded the charges.  Even on my minor level, it’s happened at least once (the threat quickly dropped once I accused the lawyer of extortion).

So I figure for a large landholder like Sterling, it gets that much worse.  And it gets even worse than that when you realize he’s lived his life surrounded by other races, holding property in racially and economically diverse neighborhoods.

I did the usual cursory Google research on his discrimination lawsuits, and pulled up this CNN article.  Not surprisingly, nobody ever won one of those lawsuits.  In a couple of the cases the charges were even dropped entirely, and yet today they’re being used in the case to strip him of his team.

You could make all sorts of arguments about this, that he’s a sneaky rich lawyer with lots of money, yadda yadda yadda.  But then you’re just making my point.  You wonder why poor neighborhoods are so run down?  You wonder why nobody invests in them?  You wonder why White Flight was a thing?  Here’s your answer.  Donald Sterling built his life on relatively poor neighborhoods.  And now he’s being eaten alive.

Who would want to invest there, in this kind of climate?  What kind of Santa Claus were you hoping for?  Did you want the government to come in and build stuff for free?  Do you want to be a photo-op for politicians who come and billoviate about the plight of the poor?  Because those same politicians just go back to the faceless corporate behemoths who take over these properties and sell them for scrap.

Why bother?  People attack Sterling, but the biggest racists in this country never actually get called racists.  You know, the really wealthy ones, who safely shield themselves from any kind of Black or Mexican, save for one or two tokens who dance to their tune.  It reminds me of Malcolm X’s preference of the Southern racist, who is open and actively deals with Blacks, over the Northern racist, who just says the flowery catchphrases while shielding their actual life from any contact with other races.

I fully realize this is a debate I’m not going to win.  The mob has the support of the town press, they will cry and howl and snowball rumors until the filthy Jew is run out of town on rails and they happily gorge on his expropriated property.  I just want to go on the record saying this will only make racial tensions, and class divisions, worse.


Donald Sterling and Anti-Semitism

So unless you’ve been living under a rock, I don’t need to explain too much to you.  His lady friend released footage of a phone conversation where she got him to question her Instagramming photos of herself with a black man, and now the world is clamoring for him to sell his team.

What’s most striking to me about all this, is the strong whiff of Anti-Semitism in all this … the utter jubilation at the thought of stripping Sterling of his team, on such shaky charges, has the ring of Merchant of Venice.

Is what he said cringe-worthy?  Of course.  Does he have a history of questionable behavior?  Of course.  He’s a capitalist.  And capitalists don’t get rich writing checks.  His behavior is quite typical of his class.

Fortunately, in LA we have a nice case study of a slimy owner who we needled to sell his team: Frank McCourt.  And regarding his situation, LA Times Business columnist Michael Hiltzik said “The history of baseball ownership is a brimming cauldron of con men, hacks, racists, cheapskates and bankrupts.”  I promise you the bell curve doesn’t shift significantly to basketball or football team owners.

Of course, McCourt was embezzling money from the Dodgers, running the team into the ground.  And yet, nobody clamored to force McCourt to sell, we had to patiently convince him to sell and pony up enough money collectively to make it worth his while.

Compared to him, Sterling looks like a pretty decent guy.  Taking a nothing team from a nothing market to a championship team that rivals the Lakers over 30 years?  I’d say that’s decent management.

But the tune is far different with Sterling.  We take a questionable phone conversation, one that would never be admissible in court for a number of reasons, and wave it around as the crowning jewel in a case to strip a Jew of his prize possession and achievement.  And we celebrate that our consciences have been cleansed, with a nice new prize to boot!  Everybody wins!

And that’s the core of Anti-Semitism.

It’s putting all our guilt and shame of the injustices of Capitalism and the innate bondage of wage labor, and transferring it into an impossible moral standard on the Jews who actually manage to claw their way into a piece of the pie.  It’s taking this opportunity to have all the players complain that they’re being bought and sold on the market, like it’s STERLING’S fault, and not the entire institution.  It’s accusing Sterling of doing all the things every other rich person does to get rich, while the rest stay conveniently out of the hot seat.   As Chris Rock says, “It’s all right, because it’s all white!”

It’s the core of Anti-Semitism throughout history.  And if I may claim an exemption to Godwin’s rule, it’s what the Nazis did.  It’s going from “bankers run the world” to “Jewish bankers run the world”.  And rather than expropriating the expropriators, as that Communist Jew Karl Marx said, they expropriate only the Jews to cleanse their guilt and live another generation.

So, if we are to make some good sense ouf of this morass, there is one question to ask both players and the other owners.  And that is, what is it about Sterling that really gets them and makes them want to get rid of him?  The fact that he’s a racist, or the fact that he’s a JEEEWWW???

But this is not a question for us to ask them in public.  It’s for their mistresses to ask them (remember, the oppressed players have mistresses too, I’m looking at you Kobe Bryant), privately, needling the answer they want out of them, while recording the conversation and releasing it without their consent.

Frankly, you could probably buy this out of any number of mistresses for a couple million.  For Donald Sterling, this would be a trifling sum well worth the vindication.

POST-SCRIPT: as if the universe were nodding in agreement, the New York Times just posted an article about the one guy who went to jail for the 2008 financial crisis.  And guess what?  He’s a Semite.  (of course there’s also Bernie Madoff…)