Racism Shocks the Nation

Monday, 05 May 2014 08:00 AM

By Jon Friedman

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Sadly, racism is alive and well today in the United States of America. No matter how much progress we have made, we have more work to do in high and low places.

The saga of the Los Angeles Clippers owner, who made racist comments during a taped telephone conversation, is shameful. Donald Sterling has received a tremendous amount of media attention, and National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver banned him for life and slapped him with a fine of $2.5 million.

The NBA is working hard to make Sterling sell the team.

But the shameful acts of some "fans" of the Boston Bruins hockey team stand out, too. This started when a black member of the Montreal Canadiens scored the winning goal in overtime to defeat the Bruins in game one of their Stanley Cup series.

The Twitter community was quickly ablaze as some fans of the Bruins communicated their racist feelings about the Canadiens player. The remarks were so awful that Bruins President Cam Neely took the unusual step of speaking publicly for the Bruins and condemning the actions of the tweeters, even if they put money in the Bruins' pockets with their support of the team.

Sociologists are having a field day trying to understand how Sterling could condemn African-Americans when he owns a basketball franchise in a league where the majority of the players are black.

The actions of the Boston hockey followers are being generally dismissed as the shameful behavior of isolated racists who feel empowered to act in a vile way while they feel they have the protection of the Web.

The bottom line is that we Americans can congratulate ourselves on how far our nation has come — basking in the progress, for instance, of electing an African-American president for two terms (and yes, that is regardless of whether you happen to support Barack Obama or not).

OK, what then is the issue? It is that Americans have to communicate with one another. We are all one nation, consisting of many skin colors and backgrounds. We should celebrate our diversity. Later for the Donald Sterlings and the Bruins tweeters.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Matrix blog for Indiewire.com. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution." Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
 

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