“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
Apparently this Donald Sterling thing is pretty big right now. I don’t feel comfortable with such a bright spotlight being precisely adjusted onto a single individual. Though, I understand why racism itself is an issue, of course. In America, racism has diminished greatly in general thank goodness, but it still exists. I think we need to wear down the edges before attacking all the layers of the source. I think one of our issues as Americans or maybe humans all together as an entirety, is that many ideas are thrown out of proportion or exaggerated, either because we have trouble remembering that others have varying thinking processes and varying upbringings, or because we hear what we want to hear in order to propel our passionate mission against racism. Having a mission against racism is a great idea, but often our approaches are structured poorly and we focus too much on our own ways of perceiving and breaking thoughts and actions down.
There are many little underlying factors unaccounted for that are anthropological or psychological that are hardly touched, which is an article or blog post in itself. You can’t know all the layers of a person or all the layers of a person’s opinion unless you are them. This is basic elementary assessment, correct? Well that’s okay, a rotten foundation is the ultimate err in most life situations, but the awesome thing is that we can eventually rebuild these things better every time with the more introspection and practice we have. Speaking of factors unaccounted for, someone I know brought up statistics recently that prove that white people empathize with lighter-skinned people more than darker-skinned people. I think some people may be looking at this in the wrong angle, I’ve seen this brought up before on another website in the past and made the same conclusion.
First of all, let me add that this research does not at all prove that the average person is incapable of empathizing with those of the same skin color, but that it is simply easier to empathize with someone who has the same skin color as ourselves. This may be exaggerated into the most narrow ways, but people who are easily perceived to be more like ourselves in general, no matter how insignificant or obvious the characteristics, are easier to empathize with and relate to. This trickles down to more than just empathy as well, it’s natural for us to establish positive feelings of any sort to those who simply seem more like ourselves, nothing more. Hopefully we can put all that behind us now and continue chipping away at racism.
My opinion is that doing something as simple as using someone’s skin color, something you can’t even control, in a sentence with negative implications qualifies you as a racist, which is what Sterling did. Though, people like this need our love and patience the most. A friend of mine asked me if Sterling should have his position taken away from him and cease to be the manager of the L.A, Clippers. Well, there are lots of bad people in charge, everyone has flaws about them, everyone sins, so you might as well demote nearly everyone who is in charge of anything in my opinion. It depends on if he’s causing harm or not. If these are merely his opinions of certain people that just happened to be caught on tape because he was sharing with someone close to him, then it shouldn’t be blown up like this in the media. Many of us keep awful secrets to ourselves, people can go an entire lifetime knowing someone without knowing some of their friend’s or their leader’s awful truths. If he showed his blatant racism through actions, that would be a different story.
Donald Sterling is not racism. Racism is racism. Now, let’s keep focus on entire ideas or actions that threaten our lives, not on silly individuals. Let’s inform ourselves and educate peacefully. 🙂