GENE ROBERTSON: Donald Sterling brought needed conversation about race to forefront

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 | 12:41 p.m. CDT

Thank you Mr. Donald Sterling, owner of the. L.A. Clippers, for opening the dialogue among us about race that should have occurred long ago.

If it were not for your behavior, the media would not have been energized by the issue you highlighted.

The focus on your behavior forced previously quiet athletes to take the stand that they and other minorities ought to have taken.

Only a few courageous notables like Muhammed Ali, Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Harry Belafonte, Harry Edwards, Tavis Smiley, Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and others of that generation who valued self respect above "bling" have exhibited the courage to speak out about the injustices that permeate every sector of our society. The spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King influenced them.

Your comments ought to force people in every sector of our society to examine not only their private behavior but the systemic behaviors that enable discriminatory results to occur in all human interaction.

Let's continue these conversations and hopefully develop ways to prevent anyone from being negatively affected by actions that are injurious.

Let's also hold those who are supposed to prevent injuries accountable.

I don't expect a change of behavior from you Mr. Sterling, but your remarks may enable the rest of us to become more tolerant and fair with each other.

William E. "Gene" Robertson is a Columbia resident and a professor emeritus at MU. He writes occasional columns for the Missourian.

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Skip Yates May 27, 2014 | 1:40 p.m.

The issue of racism based on the private conversation of a rich guy with his slut girlfriend is an enigma to me. From what I read, it appears she intentionally played him. In my mind, he was sort of saying "Hey, I'm a laughing stock when I take you to games, that you bring along a black (boyfriend) makes it even more so...". And, after all, just why would she record the conversation? Also, equally outrageous is her statement "we are just friends". Yes, after a 1.8 million dollar house/apartment and a couple of Bently's, I sure we all believe that. With that kind of payment, he sure could have done better. Wealth does not prevent one from being an idiot!

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