Sitting in the small exceptional education closet, talking with a behavior specialist, I could have never anticipated the epiphany I would soon have about my own naivety.
“Does he curse in your classroom?”
“Well, not at me, but I have certainly heard him curse inside of my classroom. Although, that is the least of my worries.”
The behavior specialist stopped and stared with a puzzled look on his face.
“It is SHOCKING to hear you teachers say that cursing is not an issue.”
You could’ve hear a pin drop. I was unaware that this was a bigger issue. I’ve heard language tossed in my direction that could make even the most callous person blush. I once had a student (not mine) shout “suck my d**” when I asked him to move along to class. What did I do? I chased him down the hallway. I consulted a security officer to identify the young man. When he was asked by the assistant principal WHY he said it (because that’s important…) he said,
“I heard it in a song. I was just quoting it.”
Then, he wrote me an “apology note.” The young man was given a day of ISS…where he spent the day gabbing with his friends; some punishment.
We live in an age of unbridled lewd behavior and we have no idea that we are enabling it.
Stiviano was recently interviewed by 20/20’s Barbara Walters and she admitted that Sterling was “not a racist…” but “should apologize for his remarks.”
Much has been said of Sterling’s racist remarks, and much should be said. What he said was crass, rude, and downright ugly. What surprises me is that nothing is being said about Sterling’s egregious misogyny.
Let’s review the facts. Sterling is currently “estranged” from his wife because of his affairs with what appears to be multiple women. Although Stiviano’s lawyer suggests that Stiviano was never Sterling’s mistress, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who would actually believe that. I don’t know of anyone who calls someone fifty years their senior “baby,” unless there is some sort of sexual relationship, either. So let’s say, for arguments’ sake, Sterling and Stiviano were involved romantically.
Throughout the course of their conversation, I heard Sterling say things like, “maybe you’re stupid. Maybe you don’t know what people think of you…”
“it hurts me that you’re broadcasting associating with black people.”
“you’re supposed to be a delicate white or a delicate latina girl.”
“everything you say to me is so painful…you know how to really hurt someone instead of saying, ‘I understand.’
“believe it and stop talking about it.”
“you aren’t making any good points.”
“who would ever want to live with a woman like you.”
“you have the worst mouth.”
“you can walk all night long with your sisters or your family.”
“bring him here, feed him…F*** him, I don’t care…”
Taking away the obvious racism in much of his statements, I want to unpack a few of these comments.
Sterling successfully manipulates his girlfriend to believe that the argument is her fault; that she is a “born fighter,” and that she is intentionally hurting him. While this may be true (after all, she is all over the news now), there are greater issues at play. He tries to shut her down saying that she is “stupid.” He discredits her side of the argument and says he is “done talking about it,” and that she “hurts him” because she doesn’t simply acquiesce to his side of the argument and claim she “understands.” He claims she isn’t making any good points, that she has the worst mouth…Still, despite any argument that she baits him into this conversation, he does everything to prove that he is controlling of her, yet we say nothing about that.
Perhaps some of the worst comes when he gives her his opinion on how she should act. She isn’t supposed to associate with certain people because she is to be “delicate.” She isn’t supposed to “broadcast” her friendships. She can also walk all night with her sisters and family, but cannot be seen with a man. She can do “whatever she wants” with whomever she wants, but such activities are limited to feeding and…ehem…another f word.
Why is it that we live in a world that is deaf to sexist undertones. Is it that the racist statements were so much more overt than the sexist comments? I think that we should certainly make a big deal of his racism, but much more should be said about his sexism. Have we become so desensitized to the sexism, as I had to cursing in my classroom, that we don’t even hear it anymore?
The fact that Stiviano is coming to Sterling’s defense is not surprising. She has been manipulated into thinking it is her fault for a multitude of arguments…I am sure of it. While many may suggest she lacks character, We must always be conscious of our words, no matter who we say them to.
And, unlike the young man in the hallway, we must be kept accountable for what we say. Bravo to Silver for doing the right thing. Let’s hope this type of language does not repeat itself in any way.