Keisha Bell: Having learned that “Sterling” was born with the last name “Tokowitz” and changed it when he became an adult, I wonder how much of his thought process is related to his Jewish personal, family and/or historical experience and if this is an example of modern-day “passing.” If it is such an example, I wonder if it would show him in a different light and/or if the opinions projected on him would be retargeted to the institutionalized systems of racism that have been prevalent in this country for generations.
Jenée D Harris: Interesting take. I wouldn’t doubt that there’s a lot of pain and insecurity in his life that has informed his current outlook (in fact, I think a lot of racism is fueled by fear and insecurity), and that he’s been impacted by bigotry in the world around him. But I think it would be tough to tell a story in which he’s a sympathetic character who’s a victim of systemic racism, when so many others in that same system have managed to find some decency within themselves.
Keisha Bell: But isn’t that a thought question concerning a lot of minorities who don’t “make it out” of poor economic conditions by those who either did succeed or by those who never faced such conditions … the comparison of “Demetrius” made it out, so why not “Tyrone”? “Tyrone” may not get the sympathy, but that doesn’t change the fact that systemic racism affected them both; its manifestation on life is just different …
Read more of the chat (including a debate about whether Muhammad Ali is a good model for the Clippers players’ response) here.
Read more at The Root: