What a lesson for children this week regarding intolerance and civil rights. Every one was talking about Donald Sterling. The week was full of amazing conversations that this writer himself could spend weeks upon discussing. For now, lets focus on discussing with our children the situation in a manner that creates critical thinking.
Some might feel that the experience is limited at first to culture. As an African-American, his comments are truly offensive. I think of Doc Rivers (Coach of the Clippers) and his family. Within his own generation, teenagers burned down his house when partying while they were away as a family. Citing intolerance as a reason they were in the house, because the couple was an inter-racial couple. How this story must impact his family and others with similar experiences. Intolerance has a post-traumatic impact when it exists.
It is hard to react when something like this happens. America is polarized at time by culture. Mark Cuban for example was criticized for saying our reaction to Donald Sterling is a slipper slope. I personally think it is a conversation that he is correct that we need to pause, and think about. Our reactions to a situation at a time it happens can be incendiary, because we do not allow ourselves time to think about the complexity of intolerance.
The situation with Donald Sterling is a complicated one. We live in a nation that is based on judicial precedent. What I believe Mr. Cuban was trying to say is what happens the next time a private conversation is recorded and shared publicly. Can we be consistent in our reaction? For intolerance exists everywhere.
Have you ever been in a locker room. Racist, homophobic, and sexist remarks could potentially be said by players. Will they be banned from playing a sport? Do we ban instead of provide learning from programs such as sensitivity training? Mr. Cuban was thinking critically, because he knows that the NBA like many other organizations are inconsistent with their reactions to such situations. When a situation like this happens, it is harder to look internally. Our external reaction is to ban someone, yet if we get caught with an intolerant thought, what would be the expectations for ourselves.