Recently Clippers owner Donald Sterling made some rather offensive and neanderthal comments in a telephone conversation with a young lady said to be his former girlfriend. Sterling was unaware he was being recorded, the comments attributed to him were probably the best indication of his feelings for African-Americans. The National Basket-Ball Association, through it’s Commissioner, acted swiftly to ban Sterling from the game for life, and is actively taking steps to force mister Sterling to sell his stake in the Team which he owns with his estranged wife.
This is not the first time we have seen where racist comments have evoked swift responses . Donald Imus “nappy headed hoes” comment cost him his job. Rick Santorum “bla people” comment may have done him in 2012. Former Virginia Senator George Allen may have had his Presidential aspirations curtailed by his “Macaca”comment while on the stump. There are no shortage of instances where it has become clear that certain language will no longer be tolerated against others.
Reggae acts are no strangers to this kind of sanction the latest being Queen Ifrica, a talented Artiste.
Queen Ifrica, 39, whose given name is Ventrice Morgan, is known for her strident lyrics, including Keep It To Yourself, Daddy and Times Like These. The Rastafari entertainer expressed her disapproval of the homosexual lifestyle at last year’s Independence Grand Gala celebrations in August which prompted culture minister Lisa Hanna to express regret at the utterances. In her response, Ifrica’s management team released a statement which, in part, read: “Queen Ifrica expresses that, while she remains grounded in her morals which espouses heterosexuality, she wants to make it abundantly and emphatically clear that she does not condone nor has ever supported or advocated violence against any group or community, whether implicitly or explicitly.”.http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Gays-block-Queen-Ifrica-_16735516
Ifrica was pulled as headliner at Amazura Concert Hall in Queens, New York, on May 24th due to mounting pressure from the gay community. Six other Jamaican female acts are also booked to perform. A 200-strong protest was held outside the club. The organisers called for a halt of the ‘Invasion of the Queens’ show, which they said contributes to violence against lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals and transgenders. According the New York Daily News, the protest is being led by openly gay City Councilman Daniel Dromm. “We don’t need homophobic people like her coming to Queens to spread their message of hate,” he was quoted as saying.
As we move to remove hatred and bigotry from our national discourse and ultimately our lives, do we give up our right of dissent? Are we bigots to be ostracized because we do not agree with someone else? Should Donald Sterling be forced out of the NBA because of his comments or should the League institute a punishment which includes tolerance training as suggested by Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban? Do we give up our God given right to free speech in order to get along?
In the end, what about forgiveness and redemption? What about second chances, are we so wounded and scarred that it has become one and done? What would Jesus do? He would be forgiving ! He would not ostracize Donald Sterling ,neither would he support killing the career of Ventrice Morgan simply because she dared to dissent.