On Donald Sterling: Could You Date a Man Who Demanded You Erase Your Ethnicity?
News broke that Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, was caught on tape saying he didn't want his girlfriend to bring black people to his games, despite the fact that black people make up the majority of the NBA, and black people are helping to keep him rich. Since talk of sports pretty much leaves me glassy-eyed, I'll not discuss how what he said effects the ballers, or how Sterling probably views the players as chattel, or that I have no doubt that he would have owned a swath of slaves had he been alive 200 years ago. By the looks of him, seems like he just barely missed that opportunity, though.
No; I'll not talk about that. What I will discuss is how this man is trying to force his half African American, half Hispanic girlfriend to erase her identity because her very existence is an affront to him. In the TMZ recording, Sterling is heard saying the following:
"By walking, you're either perceived as a Latina or a white girl." My guess is that this old croak feels that those are the only acceptable women that a man of his wealth and stature should be associated with because "his culture" mandates it. It's disgusting, even painful to hear how she's pleading with him to allow her to embrace half of who she is, because she "doesn't feel that way in her heart." Sterling then says all her whining is making him feel like he's "talking to an enemy," which we can assume that this point the he means black people. Apparently her posting a picture on Instagram with her and Magic Johnson is showing disrespect to the world--or to point a finer point on it, his world. What Sterling wants is for his girlfriend to be a special snowflake and assume the role of being an honorary white woman.
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Not only is what this wrinkled turd said despicable, it's downright sociopathic and narcissistic. What you hear in real time is how a man can break the soul of a woman, first by telling her she's not playing the role he expects her to and then degrading her by calling her stupid for not appreciating his position and alluding to wanted to cancel all their future plans. Oh my God. I just heard her on the tape saying, "You know that I'm mixed, right?" and then Sterling responding with, "You told me you were going to remove those." Remove what, Mr. Sterling? The Hispanic and black person that causes her to exist and subsequently warm your bed? He continues to gaslight her displaying racism while simultaneously denying that he's racist. Her apologizing to him for being a minority is beyond sad--it's pathetic. With all that man's money, why wouldn't he just have an Aryan girlfriend? Why try to make a mixed one into his ideal? Geezus, it's like listening to a slave owner telling his mistress to pass for white so she can show herself acceptable to polite society. This man seriously needs to be dumped in wax and displayed at a museum.
This relationship's dynamic is literally the basis of all fear of why many black women are afraid to date white men--fear that he will try to erase who she is and by proxy, what she represents. That is not okay. The GAT-DL (Guardians of All Things Dark & Lovely) are downright gleeful because this ONE incident of PROOF that ALL white men who date interracially will eventually call you a nigger.
I doubt this is the first time Donald has revealed himself as a flaming racist to her, and the fact that she's stayed with him speaks volumes about how she values and sees herself. No self-respecting person can allow for this; there's no excuse. She should have dumped him immediately. Swirling should not be about erasing who you are; it should be about embracing the differences, celebrating and respecting them.
At 85 years old, I have no doubt that Sterling is a relic of his era. But I hold out hope that both will soon die off soon.
Christelyn Karazin is the co-host of Swirlr, and the co-author of "Swirling: How to Date, Mate and Relate, Mixing Race, Culture and Creed." She also runs the wildly popular blog, Beyond Black & White.
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