There is a lot of controversy over Donald Sterling’s comments in a taped conversation with his girlfriend regarding African-Americans. What Sterling said was disgusting and offensive. But the decision of UCLA regarding his donation of $3 Million for kidney research much more hurtful to us all then what Sterling said.
After the press conference with Adam Silver, the NBA’s commissioner, when Silver banned Sterling for life from the NBA and fined him $2.5 million, UCLA released this statement regarding Sterling’s donation of $3 million toward kidney research:
- “Mr. Sterling’s divisive and hurtful comments demonstrate that he does not share UCLA’s core values as a public university that fosters diversity, inclusion and respect. For those reasons, UCLA has decided to return Mr. Sterling’s initial payment of $425,000 and reject the remainder of a $3 million pledge he recently made to support basic kidney research by the UCLA Division of Nephrology.”
UCLA’s misguided attempts to further punish Sterling for his racist comments (although I don’t know how giving him back $3 million can be thought of as punishment) is directly harming African-Americans. One third of the people with kidney failure and waiting for a kidney transplant are African-American. The largest group of minorities in need of an organ transplant.
Sterling is an offensive person but it’s more offensive to deny people with kidney issues the benefits of what a $3 million donation can provide. What they feel is a stand against racism is only hurting African-Americans and everyone with current and future kidney issues.
In theory, UCLA felt they were doing the right thing. But using money from an alleged racist to fund research to save lives does not mean that they support racism.
If they believe giving the money back is the right thing to do, does that imply that future charitable donations should only be accepted from people who have the same belief system as the charity given the money?
Do they think everyone on the kidney transplant list is fine with research that could save their lives being delayed because the funds to pay for that research would have come from an alleged racist? Of course not. Who better for it to come from than people who have offended us all? Would we rather they have more money for their luxurious lifestyles, or would we rather see their income help people who need it most?
No one is going to believe that using his money to help people means they condone his behavior. I hope all the people who came together in a public out cry wanting him banned also come together about UCLA’s decision and convince them it is wrong to give back the money that would greatly help research.
Before the controversy, the NAACP was going to honor Sterling with a life time achievement award for his charitable donations to their organization; which they recently rescinded. It would be highly beneficial if they were to contact UCLA, tell them they appreciate their attempt at a good decent gesture, but that they would like the university to keep Sterling’s money to help save people’s lives.
If we only accept charitable donations from non-racists where do we draw the line? Should there be a box to check on the organ donor form asking if you are a racist? That makes about as much sense as refunding his donation.
I’m listed as an organ donor. Would a Bible-beater refuse my organs because they were inside a person who posed nude in a magazine? I’m sure they’d just be grateful being given a second chance at life. If I was dying I’d gladly take a serial killer’s organs and I’d be happy that the new knowledge advancements in my kidney transplant was from a racist’s pocket. I’d rather know the money was used to save my life than spent buying a married man’s girlfriend more homes and cars.
All charities should gladly accept money from people like him. Isn’t it better to use the success of people we feel don’t deserve it to help people who need it most than to leave it in their hands to better their own lives? I hope the strong public stance against UCLA’s decision continues and they realize that by giving the money back their intent to take a stand against injustice is only harming the people they are trying to stand up for.
Christine Smith was born in San Dimas California and lived in a few other states but considers Cali the best. She loves biking and rollerblading up the coast and supporting the local beach bars.
Her heart has always been with rescuing animals rescue groups gave up on for being too vicious or sick, She’d rehabilitate them and find them homes. She’s rescued 114 and counting!
After visiting Playboy studios with a friend she was named Playboy’s Miss December 2005. Christine enjoyed traveling all over the US, hosting events and doing autograph signings. She won a Celebrity of the Year award in London for radio interviews. Had fun being in TV shows and movies, Bad Teacher is her favorite; Christine considers working with Cameron Diaz was an honor!
She felt very blessed to have the title of Playmate; it allowed her to help countless charities by “using her name.” She received an award from the Veterans Administration for her volunteer work and has been able to help many charities helping the wonderful people who serve our country and many animal rescue groups.
Her favorite part of being a Playmate has been meeting her fans, and she’d try to make each person feel special and give them an experience to remember.
She is very excited to now be a part of The Baltimore Post-Examiner and be able share her experiences and speak with all the readers!