Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Slams Media Culture Of Racial Sanctimony

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NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is, like many famous people, plenty mad at Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for saying some pretty inflammatory things about black people and the sport he loves. But he’s equally angry at the mainstream media for dive-bombing Sterling’s racist remarks like vultures, eager to gorge themselves on more of their own false sanctimony.

Abdul-Jabbar had a column in Time Monday that should be required reading for anyone thinking about taking a job as a race-baiting TV talking head. He quickly acknowledged that Sterling said stupid and racist things (duh), then got to the point: the media is full of hypocrites who long ago traded in any ambition to report real news for scintillating talking points that rely upon the ceaseless massaging of American racism’s desiccated corpse for one more wisp of righteous indignation.

“The whole country has gotten a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome from the newest popular sport of Extreme Finger Wagging,” he wrote. “Not to mention the neck strain from Olympic tryouts for Morally Superior Head Shaking. All over the latest in a long line of rich white celebrities to come out of the racist closet.”

Sure, Sterling comes across as bad as he possibly can, Jabbar said. But what about everyone around him – all the people who are undoubtedly happy to profit from the fallout from his having said such vile things?

Man, what a winding road she [Sterling’s much younger girlfriend] led him down to get all of that out. She was like a sexy nanny playing “pin the fried chicken on the Sambo.” She blindfolded him and spun him around until he was just blathering all sorts of incoherent racist sound bites that had the news media peeing themselves with glee.

They caught big game on a slow news day, so they put his head on a pike, dubbed him Lord of the Flies, and danced around him whooping.

… Suddenly he says he doesn’t want his girlfriend posing with Magic Johnson on Instagram and we bring out the torches and rope. Shouldn’t we have all called for his resignation back then?

Shouldn’t we be equally angered by the fact that his private, intimate conversation was taped and then leaked to the media? Didn’t we just call to task the NSA for intruding into American citizen’s privacy in such an un-American way? Although the impact is similar to Mitt Romney’s comments that were secretly taped, the difference is that Romney was giving a public speech. The making and release of this tape is so sleazy that just listening to it makes me feel like an accomplice to the crime. We didn’t steal the cake but we’re all gorging ourselves on it.

“So,” he concludes, “if we’re all going to be outraged, let’s be outraged that we weren’t more outraged when his racism was first evident. Let’s be outraged that private conversations between people in an intimate relationship are recorded and publicly played. Let’s be outraged that whoever did the betraying will probably get a book deal, a sitcom, trade recipes with Hoda and Kathie Lee, and soon appear on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ and ‘Dancing with the Stars’.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban – himself a maverick among a constellation of high-profile sports conformists, said Monday it would be unwise to succumb to the mainstream media’s fascination with making people pay for what they say, instead of what they do.

“I think there’s a constitution for a reason, right? Because this is a very slippery slope,” said Cuban. “What Donald [Sterling] said was wrong. It was abhorrent. There’s no place for racism in the NBA, any business I’m associated with, and I don’t want to be associated with people who have that position.

“But at the same time, that’s a decision I make. I think you’ve got to be very, very careful when you start making blanket statements about what people say and think, as opposed to what they do. It’s a very, very slippery slope.”

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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