By Ted Mitchell
Published May 01, 2014
The response to NBA's L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling's recent racist remarks has been overwhelming. This week the Globe and Mail even carried a two-page folio on the subject.
You might think it's a good thing for so many people to get indignant about racism. But they all miss the point. This war is already won.
America has for the most part conquered racism. It is working away at sexism, LGBT and religious discrimination. The only thing left to do is wait for the older folks who still hold discriminatory obsolete opinions to die.
But there is a much bigger problem that hardly anyone is talking about, and that is economic inequality.
This isn't my idea, it comes from a 2006 book I reviewed by Walter Benn Michaels called The Trouble with Diversity.
With every year that passes, the western world gets more economically unequal. The uber-rich, like Donald Sterling, are lambasted over private racist remarks, while hardly anyone questions whether the money they make is morally defensible or bears any relation to their contribution to society.
But it's not just the rich, although they are the most guilty of perpetuating an effective oligarchy that we pretend to call democracy.
It is everywhere, at every level of income. An obsession with money is redefining the world we live in to be only about money. Money justifies all manner of horror to people and the environment.
It is defensiveness about money that blocks out meritocracy and keeps the powerful in their positions despite young talent who should easily out-compete them.
It is the unease with which the media deals with the financial world, giving them way more respect than they deserve.
The Occupy Wall Street movement could hardly get any traction from the public, but one old rich fossil says something racist in private and it's roundly denounced all over the media.
Western civilization has a huge problem in that we risk being defined by money above all other values. Anything that seems to have similar power, like religion in America, is actually just an economic facsimile that has little to do with the values that are advanced in the Bible.
So don't take the bait. The real issues of our time are economic inequality and money defining everything.
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