The First Shall Be Last and the Last Shall Be First
I once sat at a football game between Southern University and Texas Southern University and overheard two Hispanic students say that African Americans were put on this Earth for the entertainment purposes of the other races.
These two Hispanic students were from HBCUs, but they still looked at their African American peers as less than and beneath them.
It was OK to watch them punish one another on the football field and benefit from the wisdom of African American faculty members, but those same people were still inferior to them because of skin color and history.
On a bigger level, Donald Sterling represents the same mentality as those Hispanic students.
Sterling believes that it is OK to be entertained by Black people and maybe even employ some Black people, as long as everyone knows that they are subhuman and not on the same level as sophisticated people of a lighter hue.
The recent leak of a racist rant from Donald Sterling by his girlfriend V. Stiviano and his subsequent lifetime ban from the Los Angeles Clippers and the NBA at large, shows that we have not come very far from the slave mentality, and the plantations have sometimes been replaced by the basketball courts, football fields and concert stages of the world.
The recent controversy in which Sterling chastised Stiviano for associating with Blacks and bringing them to Clippers games is just added proof to African Americans that power does not come from being an employee, no matter how well you are paid. It comes from ownership.
Until we have more Black owners of sports teams like Michael Jordan and leaders of other Fortune 500 companies, we will constantly face the same type of mentality from people who think that the color of their skin makes them better than us.
But let’s take a look at the whole notion of superiority versus inferiority.
Donald Sterling obviously believes that his skin color makes him a better person than his Black subordinates, however, he is a married man having an open and adulterous affair with a young lady who is young enough to be his granddaughter.
He has no respect for the sanctity of marriage. He has no respect for his fellow man as made obvious by the numerous complaints by his apartment tenants over the years. And he has no respect for the men that turned his $12.5 million investment in 1981 (according to the Washington Post) into a team worth $575 million today according to Forbes.
Sterling has the false belief that he provided a lucrative lifestyle for his Black players when in actuality they provided him with even more financial prosperity.
Furthermore, slave owners thought that their color and wealth made them better people than their slaves.
However, it was usually the slave living the righteous life, keeping their faith in their Maker and making the most out of the life they had been given.
Slave masters believed they were superior despite the murder of slaves, the rape of slave women, the adultery that they constantly committed against their wives and the complete agony and pain that they subjected other human beings to.
African American basketball stars around the NBA learned that their wealth does not mean they are not seen as property like their forefathers.
No matter how much money one makes, if they are not signing the checks, someone else’s signature controls their life.
Furthermore, the rich and powerful like Donald Sterling learned something even more profound. That old adage that the last shall be first and the first shall be last.
Money, power and fame are great if used the right way. But if used the wrong way, it could be snatched from you without a moments notice.
Pastors always say that you should never put your hopes and dreams in something you can see because anything visible will be taken away from you one day.
Sterling enjoyed the type of financial blessings that few will ever get to enjoy.
But instead of using it to bless the lives of the unfortunate and the downtrodden, he used it to keep them down.
Furthermore, when he saw that they were down, he laughed at it and mocked them.
Treating his tenants like equal human begins would not have cost him money; it probably would have preserved his money a little longer.
Treating his players, coaches and executives as equals would not have cost him money, it might have made more African Americans willing to play for the Clippers.
Unfortunately for Donald Sterling, he learned that all that he thought he earned on his own could be snatched from you in the matter of days.
Many will say that Stiviano was wrong for secretly taping his conversations. But any woman, who will openly commit adultery, has the same lack of morals that he has so why should she be trusted.
His girlfriend represented the same class of people that disgusted him; the same class of people that were only on Earth for his entertainment.
Now thanks to her and that class of people, many people will find enjoyment and entertainment in his demise as a NBA owner.