Clippers owner Donald Sterling wants America to know one thing: He is “not a racist.”
The declaration of Sterling’s non-racistness will air in full during an interview with Anderson Cooper set to air Monday night on CNN. Last week, RadarOnline obtained an apparent audio recording of Sterling telling a friend the same thing.
But what does it matter what we call Donald Sterling — or what he calls himself, for that matter?
When has there been a public figure embroiled in racial controversy that went on camera to “admit” to racism? When has there been a time when someone “admitted” their actions or words contributed to a larger problem of racism in society?
The question itself, often couched as hard-hitting or thought-provoking, is as laughable and meaningless as the answer.
Whether we individually call Sterling a racist or not a racist shouldn’t be of concern to anyone.
Sterling’s record — the lawsuits, accusations of racial discrimination, wrongful termination and a nearly $3 million settlement to former black and Hispanic tenants of apartment buildings he owned — matters. The latter sum was the “largest ever obtained by the Justice Department in a housing discrimination case involving apartment rentals,” according to a Los Angeles Times report back in 2009.
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According to reports, there are several NBA players on and off the Clippers who will not play for a Sterling-run team, whether it’s Donald or his estranged wife Shelly. LeBron James, the league’s best player, wants all of the Sterlings out.
Racist? Not racist? Those words don’t matter.
The only word that matters is former — as in Donald Sterling, former NBA owner.
Follow theGrio.com’s Todd Johnson @rantoddj