Why Sterling is a particular disgrace to me

Sterling: Not my kind of Jew.
Sterling: Not my kind of Jew.
Posted: May 12, 2014


Oh, yes he did.

Billionaire Bigot Donald Sterling, in a conversation with a friend that reeks of a pre-planned leak, not only denies being a racist, but offers his Jewish religion as a sort of defense.

If he expects the Jewish community to rally to him, he's nuts.

Half of his high school classmates were black, 40 percent were Hispanic, he said on the latest recording. "I was the president of the high school there," he said. "I mean, and I'm a Jew!"

Not my kind of Jew.

Even if we ignore his racist remarks, we can't get past his racist deeds. He paid millions to settle lawsuits that alleged he discriminated against minority renters.

Those episodes are particularly painful to me and other Jews because they feed an enduring negative stereotype of the Jewish landlord who plunders minority tenants. In Yiddish, Sterling is a shonda, a disgrace.

He has been condemned by Jewish organizations across the board. None of us wants anything to do with him.

My conundrum is how to write about Jewish stereotypes - both positive and negative - without expanding them.

Being rich is another stereotype applied to Jews, but it is a double-edged sword, harboring a suggestion that Jews use wealth to get their way. (As opposed to all other rich people?)

Most Jews are not rich, but most (in the punch line of a familiar joke) are "comfortable."

Nor do Jews control Wall Street, the media and/or Congress, all are falsehoods designed to fan flames of hate.

A true, and positive, stereotype is that most Jews are promoters of equality and gather on the liberal end of the political spectrum. That is so because, to generalize, Jews are mindful of the hurdles that had been set before them and don't want to see them inflicted on others. Democratic presidential candidates almost never get less than 80 percent of the Jewish vote.

Because Jews were and are in the forefront of the civil rights movement, Sterling's racist comments were particularly painful. We heard one of our own telling his half-black reputed mistress he doesn't want her posting Instagram pictures with her black friends or bringing them to games.

He seemed to be OK with her black friends, but he didn't want V. Stiviano to be seen with them publicly. That makes Sterling a hypocrite.

I wonder, just for a moment, if my black friends think I share similar feelings about them?

But it's just for a moment. I'm sure they do not and they do not hold me responsible for anything said by the Billionaire Bigot.

But . . . I often write (lecture?) people about doing the right thing. When you see something that appalls you, don't remain silent.

So I can't be silent now. I feel obligated to condemn Sterling, who is not my kind of Jew.

He is a product of another time, another age, another mindset.

That mindset is not shared by a majority of Americans and it certainly is not shared by the overwhelming number of American Jews.

But there is a silver lining, pun intended: Adam Silver is the NBA commissioner who handed down swift, decisive, even draconian punishment.

Silver is also a Jew - my kind of Jew.

Phone: 215-854-5977

On Twitter: @StuBykofsky

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