Any Sterlings here?

By Winford James
April 30, 2014 – trinidadexpress.com

Dr. Winford jamesDonald Sterling, the suddenly infamous owner of the NBA team, Los Angeles Clippers, has been caught out being racist and now finds himself having to sell his team and dissociate himself entirely from basketball. Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner has fined him $US2.5 million and, on top of that, banned him from all association with both the Clippers and the NBA for life. But since he is 80, the last punishment will unfortunately not be as severe as warranted.

Let him go! And all others like him!

But I must ask, What would happen if we discovered highly-placed people like him in our midst? I mean, if we were to catch them unawares on tape or video declaring their racism, not merely suspect them to be racist bigots, and able to broadcast it to the whole wide world.

Racism is always vile, ugly, and exploitative, but Sterling’s racism, which, it turns out, was evident long before now, is all the viler, uglier, and more exploitative for being conducted in 21st century America and, by extension, 21st century Earth. America remains, in widespread popular perception at least, the ultimate in melting pots and democracies, and here is an American man, a rich white old American man, who has benefitted to the tune of millions of dollars on the strength of the amazing talents of mostly black basketballers, protesting to his non-white girlfriend that she should not be bringing black people to ‘my games’, or be posing with black people on social media like Instagram, not even celebrities like Magic Johnson, and thereby occasioning him social embarrassment.

But even before this expression of outrageous racism, he was found to have discriminated against Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities in the provision of housing; and he was alleged to have said, ‘Black tenants smell and attract vermin.’ Also, he had to pay $2.73 million in a Justice Department suit that accused him of discriminating against blacks, Hispanics, and families with children renting property belonging to him.

For his current affront, the whole basketball world has been coming down on him. For example, Magic Johnson called it a shame, vowed not to attend any Clippers game so long as he remained the owner, and is even looking to buy the team. LeBron James says such conduct does not belong in ‘our’ NBA. And a very angry Kareem Abdul-Jabbar reacted as follows:

‘Racists deserve to be paraded around the modern town square of the television screen so that the rest of us who believe in the American ideals of equality can be reminded that racism is still a disease that we haven’t yet licked.’

Well, the digitisation of information has made sure that the whole world knows about Sterling’s wretched conduct and, before its power, he cannot but leave basketball entirely. He might be forgiven, but he is not to stay in his station.

So back to the question. What if we were to catch, say, a politician, or sports administrator, or the chairman of a State enterprise expressing his racism in a supposedly secret space?

We know that there is racism in the distribution of contracts, in the appointment of members and chairpersons to state boards, in the employment and disemployment of people in public sector jobs. But either we have never really been able to prove it, or else we are not sure we can build an airtight case against it. But we are sure that we see moves that tell us that some people are preferred to others on the basis of race in critical areas of life. And we know that this does not happen only under Afro-dominated governments or Indo-dominated ones.

But we have never really heard – have we? – any politician declaring their racism in a way similar to Sterling’s. So if we caught a politician unawares, and we digitised the deception and sent it over the web, what would happen?

He couldn’t send his lawyers after anybody. He couldn’t prevail on any court of law to prevent what has already been done or stop its continuing dissemination. He could deny it is his voice but nobody would believe him, not even the Prime Minister.

So he would have to resign, wouldn’t he? Or the Prime Minister would have to fire him, wouldn’t she? Perhaps the Government would also have to resign?

When Glenn Ramadharsingh did his foolishness on an airbridge flight in full view of other passengers, he had to resign or be fired. There was no doubt about his abuse of power, everybody came to know about it, and the Prime Minister had to get rid of him. There might have been forgiveness but there was no longer any station for him. When Sacha Singh accused Chandresh Sharma of causing her to hit her head and black out in a public place and the matter came to be known far and wide, Sharma had to go.

Again, there might have been forgiveness, but his station had evaporated.

There are certain things that simply disallow continuation in a station. A politician caught expressing racism against Afros or Indos is one of them. If we caught him, we would nail him to the cross, and let him bleed out, wouldn’t we?

But this is idle, vexatious talk. No matter how intemperate his manner is, our politician can’t be caught. We have been diligent but we have found no Sterlings in Trinidad and Tobago, have we?

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26 Responses to “Any Sterlings here?”


  • Racism is one of the dumbest idea out there. Why? No one choose their race. Scientist found in tribes that were considered to be primitive a strong sense of superiority. Built within all is a love for our ethnicity. Loving and serving people who look like you is not morally or ethically wrong. Cheering on those who look like you is a normal human reaction.

    Racism is more a predominant factor when a race has a strong common bond. For instance Europeans are all white, Japanese have peculiar features, Koreans look like Koreans, Africans look like Africans. East Indians suffered invasion after invasion and the brown race have many shades. Madrassie Indians look like Africans, there hair naturally curls. Some Indians such as Bollywood star Ashwariya Rai is as white and more good looking than most whites. Of course skin colour in India gave rise to the caste system that associated dark skin people as inferior. Worst is that it obtained religious assent. Today the biggest selling product in India is skin whiteners.

    We all to some extent hold certain prejudices based on experiences. We are not born with these prejudices it must be noted. We over time formulate such thinking. To prevent this stereotyping we must seek to build relationship with people who don’t look like us. It is the best way to fight racism….

  • HAVE WE? HAVE WE? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!
    Our problem (black folks) is one of denial, read the blogs, read any form of written literature by hindu or Indian activists and you would see there is no qualms in referring to anyone associated with the PNM as racists. If you write a comment in support of or sympathetic to the PNM, you are likely to be called a racist, I may also add that the term ‘PNM’ is more extensive by way of usage than it’s literal content, racist bloggers insist that as long as UNC is in power the initials ‘PNM’ is a dirty word. On the other hand African people are more resistant in echoing the racism meted out to them by their Indian counterparts and are weary of being labelled as racist. As Prime Minister, one of Patrick Manning’s worst critic, Sat Maharaj was allowed to be appointed on boards simply because he did not want to be called a racist. In spite of that his standing as a racist never improved in the hindu community. We cannot wait for a tape of a recording to be made public before we classify people as ‘racist’. Habits are the best indicator of that. Kamla Persad Bissessar was against Trinidad being in the CCJ simply because the current staffing did not have an Indian judge. She echoed that sentiment in public and did not hide her feelings. Whilst Basdeo Panday was commonly accepted as a racist in the non-hindu community and there were fears of him competing in the 2010 elections, Kamla would wear ethnic clothes, go to christian churches, attend christian functions and use christian quotations as commonly as any christian would and yet in comparison, her leadership is by far more racist than Basdeo Panday ever was. Under the PNM Tim Gopeesingh used words like ‘ethnic cleansing’ to describe the PNM administration, yet under an administration which he is a part of the worst form of cleansing has taken place and he is all smiles about it. So, I say NO we can’t wait for a video recording or tape recording of racist comments to determine if there are “any Sterlings here”.

    • “Kamla would wear ethnic clothes, go to christian churches, attend christian functions and use christian quotations as commonly as any christian would and yet in comparison, her leadership is by far more racist than Basdeo Panday ever was.” Kian.

      The PNM had a $50 million secret scholarship fund. They used State funds to promote tribalism. Yet for all the PNM efforts the areas where their support is the strongest Kian remains backward and depressed.

      The current Prime Minister as you labelled racist has done more for the upliftment of black people than any other. The laptops for children benefitted all children including balisier children. The increase in pension benefitted all the elderly including balisier members. The Ministry of the People made money available to all regardless of race. She also increase social spending on CEPEP, OJT, Costatt and built the El Dorado Nursing School that has a high percentage of PNMites training. Next month she will be opening a training school in Diego Martin. The PP also expanded the Diego Martin Highway. This Prime Minister has done more for the upliftment of all citizens and Kian I am sure when you return to TnT you will agree with me. Please stop throwing these labels around.

    • Spot on, spot on, spot on! With Panday, one knew where one stood – ‘somewhat’ racist but TRYING to be fair; but with regards to Kamla – disturbingly ‘underhand’.

  • I would like to say that racism is abhorent in all facets. But not all racists are white and I think many people are selective in what they over hear and from who. I have visited the West Indies on many occasions and have been threatened and racialy insulted. Many people will only pick up on the abuse that affects them and their racial group and I would take more attention to those who berate racism in ALL its forms and from who ever spouts such bile

  • Sterlings are there they are just undercover.Like many bad things are normally undercover will come to light. I wont call out any race because the individuals who do this know who are. As for Trinidad the claim is everyone is mixed , so how can you hurl out any racism at anyone its ignorant and people should know better. All the races are being mixed in so when you are being racist its possible your saying something about a family member of yours, a future in law etc. The categories in which people describe themselves and the hierarchy that Trinidad has placed on its society fosters racism. I don’t believe there are not enough people in Trinidad who oppose racism/racist attitudes or colourist ones. The penalties of those who say and act the way the owners of the clippers do would never happen in Trinidad , Why? because the people at the top mostly share racist/prejudice ideology.

  • racism does exist especially in Tobago where the majority of people
    are of Africans. How about the chief secretary sometime ago on a public platform saying that Tobago is for people who look like us
    and talk like us. This is not forgotten by both Trinis and people
    who live in tobago not of African descent. What about the Calcutta
    ship comment by mr Sandy. Did anyone object to that? Is that not
    racism

  • Absolutely Kian. But we know the Freudian Strategy. It has been employed in every racist theatre to silence Africans when they expose the lurid underbelly of racist prejudice So when they respond to the Sterling issue with facetious condemnation, it must be taken with pounds of salt. |

    I mean it is really comical to witness the same folks who have been writing in here about Indian Indian superiority condemning sterling for comments that professed white superiority. There is no difference between the content of comments of the Mamoos’ and Tmans, and sterling, except for usage of a different set of words to say, essentially, the same thing.

  • Paton for you perception is reality. Anyone who don’t look like you or subscribe to your world view is racist. That is a very very sad way to live. You will always be a victim with that victim hood mentality. That type of thinking creates a dependency syndrome and accounts for the high percentage of welfare recipients being black including yourself in the United States.

    Before you call anyone a racist you must first of all make that determination on action and then words. As I made clear to Kian be careful of labeling others because that plays well into victim hood mentality that give rise to ghettoes. Barrack Obama is the most powerful man on earth and he is black, that should at least instill some pride in you Paton but I am sure you will find some excuse to make an opposite determination.

  • “That type of thinking creates a dependency syndrome and accounts for the high percentage of welfare recipients being black including yourself in the United States.”………Mamoo
    “As I made clear to Kian be careful of labeling others because that plays well into victim hood mentality that give rise to ghettoes. “………..Mamoo
    It is amazing how those who practice racism are unaware how awful they sound when trying to defend it! Every word that comes from his brain weighs in on “how fortunate and successful” he is over the black man. When words are put together they represent thoughts. When thoughts are expressed, they represent a persons feelings and mores. One can always find an incident, deed or two to characterize a person but the preponderance of a behavior cannot fail to justly identify a pattern which connate how that person think or feel deep inside. I do not know what Mamoo looks like, who he is or what he does from day to day, but from his writings it is abundantly clear and hard to escape the essence of what he expresses and this comes out unwittingly.
    I do not want this to be about who is racist and who is not but when you write “apple” don’t tell me it is “orange”.

    • Kian I thank you for your “generous” thoughts towards me. Let me say as you may have read my earlier comments, I really believe racism is “dumb”. Those who used it are weak and subtract themselves from reality. The fact is in life there will always be people who like you or hate you, nothing you can do about that because they are the ones who are having the problem not you. If someone hate you, you may assume it is you race but it may just be bad breath and body odor…let us not assume anything in life…it is too short to dwell on these things.

  • Mamoo I do not care what you look like. My comments are reflective of yours. It is a fact that you make arguments in here about the superiority of Indians over Africans. It is a fact that is no different than what is reflected in the comments of Sterling.

    I missed the part where your selective statements amount to gospel. Your problem, and that is also Sterlings’ is that you under value the attention span of those who have access to your outpourings. This is about the historical trend and assumptions in what you write in here. That you are seemingly disturbed that people interpret such writings for what they represent is even more damning.

    • Sterling comes from a different time. Sterling grew up during the time of segregation. Racism is a learnt behavior. The odd thing about Sterling is he held such views but being a billion dollar NBA franchise owner he did more for black players than most people would give him credit for. He turned many of these young men into millionaires. He also gave money to the United Negroe College and other black institutions so much so he was due to receive a lifetime achievement award. I am sure those people were deeply hurt and saddened by his comments.

      Nevertheless his generation of bigots are slowly become manure for the earth..

  • “being a billion dollar NBA franchise owner he did more for black players than most people would give him credit for. He turned many of these young men into millionaires.”……..Mamoo
    This is exactly what I am talking about. Your intent and your summation are mutually exclusive, it might have derived from your early understanding and interpretation of things. It might derive from how you view generosity. Generosity is described as
    “the quality of being kind and generous”, it means that whatever you do is from the heart without expecting something in return. In your blog would you say that that is how you really want to describe Sterling? If you study it well you will see that you have used the wrong description of what he is doing. Sterling is a businessman, he purchased a club for thirteen million dollars, today, that same club is worth close to one billion dollars, that is a profit of extreme portions, in your statement, did you ponder on how he made so much money? his employees did not sit down on their lazy butts with their hands out. They worked for it and in so doing made him extremely rich. As to his his “generosity”, it is part of his PR (same as Kamla’s), where he appears to be doing something for the undeserving so that he can look good in the eyes of the beholder but is simply point 1.1 in business. Yes Mamoo, they got him extremely rich not the other way around. When you go to work, you first do it to gain a living but the reality is you are also putting money into your employer’s pocket by the labor that you invested in.
    I hope this explanation makes it absolutely clear about your “apples” and “orange” messages.

    • “Reductio ad absurdum is a mode of argumentation that seeks to establish a contention by deriving an absurdity from its denial, thus arguing that a thesis must be accepted because its rejection would be untenable. It is a style of reasoning that has been employed throughout the history of mathematics and philosophy from classical antiquity onwards.”
      Kian this describes how you think and write….enjoy.

  • Kian, Mamoo will never understand your superior insight, so please leave him to his suppressing shadowy thoughts. ;)

    • Sandi, you were right Mamoo’s imagination is definitely not infinitive, there are serious borders by which he limits his reasoning to go. It is therefore a waste of time and thanks for your advice.

  • Mamoo wrote, “being a billion dollar NBA franchise owner he did more for black players than most people would give him credit for. He turned many of these young men into millionaires.

    This is evidence of the absolute ignorance and concrete prejudice that inundate every aspect of Mamoo’s psyche. Sterling did not give anything to those players, they earned it. How can anyone so obtuse.

    The NBA is a business, and the players are paid for their abilities and production. Only the most obtuse and backward would categorize an occupational association as a charitable situation of someone giving something to someone. He bought the team for 12 million and today it is worth more than one billion. The business does not produce widgets. It produces performances, and those performances are products of the players abilities.

    They say it is foolish to argue with an idiot because they will bring you down to their level and defeat you with their experience in that field. Nothing can be more demonstrative of this than the regurgitating of Sterling’s slave master like definition of his relationship with his employees. That Mamoo finds it credible solidifies the very point I made in my first response in this thread. That regardless of his fake repugnance, when examined deeply, one will find a poignant symbiosis between his mindset and that of Sterling. Like birds of a feather, the thinking of racist flock together.

    • I fail to see your point. Sterling made sure his employees were well paid for throwing a ball around and making him lots of money. It is called “capitalism” not racism as you see to think.

  • I’m having fun with this folks!
    Hey Bro Rodwell P , you guys keep falling into the Mamnoo, T-Man, Trini toyal, Trollogian trap, and why?
    They are all paid PP agents, just like that one time objective ,’former Journalist ,’ turn Government PR Spokesman,Andy Johnson.

  • Again you are exhibiting the knowledge of 3rd grader. The NBA has a bargaining agreement over salaries. The NBA has a union that negotiates payment of the players. Every NBA Owner, if they want the best, has to pay for the best. Your argument are insipid.

    Of course it is called Capitalism, not Charity. You wrote that he “gave” things to his players. In the Capitalist system, there is an exchange of goods or services for cash. It is not a donation by one side to the other side.

    Your inability to understand that is a product of your Sterling like mindset, racially prejudice to the core, with the cognitive disability that impells you to form these kinds of understandings in any situation involving black people. You walk like a duck and quack like a duck, you certainly aint no frigging swan.

    • Paton I am glad for the opportunity to educate you. A student of your low level of intelligence requires a lot of work. Capitalism and slavery by Eric Williams is your homework assignment. It is good read.

  • You are really really obtuse. I have read Eric Williams Capitalism and Slavery. Only someone who is so divorced from rational reasoning would use that to corroborate their’s and Sterling’s position that what Basket Ball Received from owners amount to gifts.

    Look pal, most psychologist equate racial prejudice as some form of undeveloped cognitive ability, so offers from you of reading material has to be a joke. The slimy manner you assume in order to obscure your “Freudian Slippage” is laughable, and has been known for centuries. You educating me is equivalent to the grand wizard of the klu klux klan educating Malcolm X, or the Slave Master seeking to educate his captive that his way is right. It is a joke.

  • Since we recognize that the question , as put out by the savvy Professor,was rhetorical in nature,no need to address it directly, but at the same time , ‘get down to the nitty gritty of it,’as we like to say on the streets.
    The bigger issue for me is, how do we as a country ,deal with ugly racist elements, when we catch them with their ‘exposed rear ends over , the main drinking , water fountain?’
    Speaking of which , how is Queen K , close Spiritual adviser , Sat Maraj doing, since Tunapuna Hindu Primary School Principal, Sita Gajadharsingh Nanga, shed light on how he felt about, Afro Trini kids , while simultaneously , choosing to spend our national tax dollars?

    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/sat_blocked_black_children-133665408.html?m=y&smobile=y

    We know how Tobago is surviving , since he gave his edict to the tribe , to punish the Island ward , for having the temerity to rebuff his leader, and party overtures, during that failed THU election.
    Ummmm, …poor Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh , that bastard, probably still think , he was publicly castrated , by his female PM , over the fact that he tried to undress, then threaten to fire
    some 25 year old, female Flight attendant.
    No buddy, you mess with the wrong MAha Saba , Hindu , high end guru, turn Spiritual adviser.Stay away from Tobago, means just that , MP Kello-To hell with dem African , pro PNMItes!
    We know HCU , still struggling, Indo Trini , mainly Caroni farm working pensioners , would get some financial relief -as they should – after white color bandit CEO, Harry Harenarine , and other crooks , stole all their life savings.
    I guess head Guru Sat,no longer needs Police protection, from disgruntled members , who once followed his advice, to take all their monies out of better run State, and private entities ,such as Eastern,Rands, and Unit Trust, and instead invest only in their own institution, ain’t that so,Ag Commissioner Williams?

    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/HARRY_S__HIT_ON__SAT-159143805.html?m=y&smobile=y

    There was once this loud , neo racist,flame thrower ,fake anti -genocide activist, who made ridiculous claims, of blatant ethnic cleansing,that were perpetuated, against his people , within the Health Care service, when one of his students, was overlooked ,re some job he applied for.
    For such , he was rewarded , by his PM , to the exalted post of Minister of Education.
    We suspect, he should get credit for forcing a Maha Saba / Education Ministry,electioneering truce, and ensuring our beloved Indo Trini Whistleblower ,Principal Sita Gajadharsingh Nanga- or as rabid elements called her , race traitor- out from her job.
    We know that without his Dr G’s help,that cutlass wielding , out if control Shane Goopiesing , his son, would have become some strong ,Afro – Mandingo,male prisoner wife in prison, and not now getting ready ,for summer classes , at the Toronto Community College.
    The most important question however , on this thought provoking issue is this:-What does it say about the leader , who choose to symbolically get into bed with these two morally repugnant cretins?
    In America, a simi pretty, plastic surgeon created , high priced , ambitious ,Latina Call girl ,named Vanessa Maria Perez, can influence change , by bringing down ,a racist , old , millionaire bozo, as well as an LA NAACP Chapter head, who cuddled him, for self gains.
    In contrast, not even the sterling efforts , of a respected School Principal , Sita Gajadharsingh Nanga, could shake , much less cause , much adored iconic heroes , such as Sat,&Dr Goopie, out of their power domain/racism prisons, and we of course ,know why, si?

    http://m.espn.go.com/nba/story?storyId=11003237

    Let us on this auspicious day , as our proud fellow citizens celebrate, their struggles, and triumphs,in their wonderful country, pause , and ponder , on these things ,along with my astute observations, on the subject, then,if they be of any virtue , not be too reticent to speak up after thinking on these things,…yes, and act forcefully, where warranted.
    Oh, and did I hear that some paid,homeless vagrant, is about to go to the hang man gallows , for holding a racist slogan , during a march?
    Ummmm, well I’ll be dar…,and as my late, and extremely wise, Tobago Granny, would often say to your truly, back in the day,”wonders never cease!”
    Is some element attempting to poison our country, by pitting our extremely tolerant races , against each other?
    I hope not.
    Love Humanity people!

  • Wonderful article Neal, you were very objective and factuaL. We must use the occasion of Indian arrivals day to remind one and all that life in Trinidad and Tobago should never be a continuous competition for power and by any means necessary. There are many and numerous actors on this stage with many and conflicting messages that are not meant to cure our ills but to multiply them. If IAD means anything, it should be a time of reflection, where we should all take the time to reflect on “how do we survive another fifty years?” If the answer to that is, “a prospering Trinidad and Tobago where all and sundry are given an opportunity to live freely without an attack on his/her ancestry, place of residence or caste designation”, then I will say HURRAY! to that, but if the celebrations remains a continuous gloat about Indian successes and triumph over the African and the PNM as RAWAN, then there will be no guarantee that the weather to celebrate will be bright and sunny. We are all fortunate that the good Lord allowed (yes allowed because I’m sure those celebrating don’t want to go back to India) us to be in a beautiful location in the world where tsunami, typhoons, hurricanes and massive earthquakes are not constant reminders of the Lord’s presence. So, the only thing that can guarantee a good quality of life is uninterrupted co-operation and respect for each other. I can write an epistle on the daily challenges we face and the lack of leadership we are supplied with to deal with them, however that is a different matter and a diversion from what we should contemplate on on this IAD. We must strive towards maturity and healthy give and take and should not insist that in order to serve all the people the solution must be Hindu in origin or Christian in origin or Muslim in origin or Bhudist in origin, we should be aware that the good that come out of each of these beliefs should be the ones that are acceptable to all. Leaders like Eric Williams comes around once in fifty years but we can’t wait fifty years to see that. We have to develop the minds of the young to know what is the rainbow, understand the rainbow and to cherish the rainbow. Where we came from we had our fights with the Brahmins and Dalits but we should have no Brahmins and Dalits here, we had our fights with the Ibos and Hausas but we have no Ibos and Hausas here. What we have here is a mayor named Raymond Tim Kee and if you look for his home in Asia you will find that he is Trini to D Bone. We have a steel band family called Samaroo and if you look for their home in South Asia you will find that they are Trini to D Bone. I have a friend named Tang Wing and if you are looking for his home in China he passed thru Africa on his way here – Trini to D Bone. We are not necessarily identified by our surnames because the melting pot have given us a particular identity which few other countries in this world enjoy. So there is reason to be optimistic but to return to our leadership, why do we have square pegs in round holes? We are equipped with leaders who speak with and through their titles only, if you edit what they are saying you will find that what you are hearing is crapos saying “poong aaah naaak”, case in point I was just reading Roger Samuel, the MP from Arima speaking about the protesters with the racial placards, calling them “people from the fringe”. Well, I think that these “people from the fringe” acted more dignified than the one calling them that. They were honest enough to go to the police and identify themselves and to tell the police that the suit and tie individuals who came from the political party employed them to commit this unfaithful act. Don’t you think Mr. Samuels know that these people were ‘used’? He sure does but he knows that he would be treading on safe ground to demonize them whilst knocking wines glasses with the likes of those that hired them in the first place. That is leadership and that also is hypocrisy to the core, that also is what passes for ‘leadership’ in Trinidad and Tobago. So, on this arrival day I would urge my dear friends to think, very hard about the rivalry, dishonesty, hypocrisy and all of the other ills with which we are governed by and ask the question “what kind of legacy are we bequeathing to our children?’. That seems to be more relevant than the gloating about competition and achievements they have attained, why? because whilst it is good to have all these notables, the real question will be in what kind of environment do you want to participate in, one of civility or one enlightenment?

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