“The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men (and women) who can dream of things that never were.”
~ John F. Kennedy
“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
~ Romans 8.28
The problems of race continue and so does its cycle: hatred, offense, hatred. The latest problem: Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Allegedly, he was recorded by his mistress (Though Donald Sterling is a married man, the news media reported that she was his girlfriend.) making offensive comments about socially colored black people. The moral of the recorded story: He doesn’t like them. (This is not a new story.) And like the movie “Groundhog Day,” the race debate starts all over again and the question is raised, “What can we do to let Donald Sterling know that we will not accept this type of behavior in our post- modern, liberally loving and accepting world?” This is a fill in the blank question as it is one that is often repeated; we just change the name.
Roundtable discussions, debates and deliberations as to his punishment have all made their appearance on public television and radio. “We will boycott, start petitions, demand that the NBA take actions against him. We will not stand for this type of behavior,” we tell ourselves and the audience within us. But, not before long, the conversation changes.
We point our fingers at Donald Sterling and he becomes the new marker, the new measure for progress in race relations. “See, we have not progressed. See, nothing has changed. We are still fighting the same battle, challenging the same ignorance. We have a long way to go.” All because of Donald Sterling.
In essence, we start over. We go all the way back to American slavery (Donald Sterling has been called a slave owner based on his comments.) and the process of forgiveness begins with this event instead. We have a long way to go because we allow race to take us back instead of staying in the moment. Yes, history is a good teacher but the present offers classes too. And right now, we are in Donald Sterling 101.
Unfortunately, the graduating class from these types of discussions produce more skeptics and cynics than dreamers and reconcilers. We must change the conversation, the way that we look at the problem and the people that contribute to it if the race problem is ever to be solved. Race is not the problem of a single person but of a collective community who continues to define itself by it while attempting to be free of it. Racialized people will also not solve the problem of race. Calling all race-less people!