Los Angeles Clippers Owner Donald Sterling may lose his team as a result of the firestorm over his racist rant. Taped without his knowledge, the rant against African Americans in particular caused a firestorm that ended in NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to “Ban Sterling For Life” from all associations with the NBA. Sterling may be the latest casualty of the aftermath of a racist rant but he is certainly not the first.
Alec Baldwin’s anti-gay slurs about a journalist who wrote that his wife was texting during a celebrity funeral wasn’t the first time a celebrity was in hot water over saying something offensive that was also homophobic or racist. Several other celebrities have made well publicized homophobic remarks. Singer Chris Brown, made anti-gay slurs in a tweet to rapper Raz. Actor, Comedian Tracy Morgan made an anti- gay remark regarding bullying. Mel Gibson made anti-gay comments in an interview for Spanish Television several years back. Isaiah Washington made gay slurs about a co-star on Gray’s Anatomy which got him fired from the show.
Paula Deen has, done perhaps irreparable damage to her cooking empire with her comments in a deposition for a case in which she was being sued for using the N word when referring to staff. Michael Richards’s rants against African Americans pretty much ruined his career as well. Mel Gibson’s rant against Jews helped put him on Hollywood’s D List and Reverend Jessie Jackson’s anti-Semitic remark may have cost him a political career.
Rush Limbaugh went into a 30 second rant imitation of the President of China (using fake Chinese words) and never apologized. Rosie O’Donnell imitated a Chinese Newscaster When she was on the cast of The View and later apologized. Ryan Lochte’s sister Megan launched into a racist rant about the Chinese people on a talk show called Closing Time. Adam Corolla (who was Jimmy Kimmel’s co-host on The Man Show went into rant against Mexicans on his comedy podcast. In 2011 comedian Katt Williams went on a racist rant against a Mexican American heckler at a stand-up show in Phoenix AZ.
There are even commercials and ads that are racist. A recent VW commercial features an Arabic terrorist trying to explode a car bomb near a crowded restaurant but the car (a VW Polo) is too well built to explode, thereby thwarting the terrorist’s plot. A 2007 Intel ad featured a white manager stands while six black employees bow down to him. A 2006 Sony ad featured a white woman aggressively, physically dominating an African American woman. A Public Storage ad had a Jewish woman complaining about high prices.
So how is possible that celebrities make racist remarks and go on racist rants? How is possible that Major Corporations spend advertising money on commercials and ads with racist overtones? Don’t they all know that any kind of racism can have dire consequences for people and corporations in the public eye because they depend on the public for their income? They are aware of the consequences and yet they still do it.
Celebrities go on racist rants and corporations make fatal advertising mistakes because they can’t help themselves. Racism is a devious. It creeps into your thinking, then it creeps into your language and like any other habit, it’s hard to break. Everyone is or has been guilty of making a racist remark or reinforcing a stereotype at one time or another. If you use certain words all the time it’s impossible to edit them all of the time. Eventually you are going to slip. The key to never being accused of going on a racist rant is to stop using racist words and phrases.
Start seeing people as individuals. Start realizing that the culture someone is born into does not totally define them. Realize that stereotypes are just generalizations and cannot capture the myriad of nuances and differences between the many cultures within a culture, let alone an entire people. As such, stereotypes are often untrue and always degrading. They degrade the culture or people they refer to and degrade the person perpetuating them by clothing them in ignorance. By giving other cultures the dignity of respect, you will show yourself to be wise indeed.
In True Faith,
The Prophet of Life
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