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Growing up colorblind.

POSTED April 30, 2014
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: I was very fortunate growing up in the Hudson Valley region of New York State.

I never knew or really thought much about prejudice or race.

We lived in a couple of towns over the years; Washingtonville, Chester and Monroe, but because my parents never made an issue out of the color of anyone’s skin, it didn’t spread to me.

I looked at all people the same. When you are the youngest of four kids and the sole male in the group, you’re just real happy when you found a friend, don’t care if they were green!

As I grew up, I never judged anyone by the how they looked, more towards how they acted.

In the 1970’s in Newburgh, diversity was the rule. When I turned 16, I started working at the local McDonald’s and ran into all kinds of people but because of my upbringing, never cared what color somebody was.

I saw race riots during those years. I’ll never forget seeing a guy come into the store I worked at with a piece of a bat still stuck in his side from a fight he had just come from nearby in which hundreds of people fought over what made no sense to me. The color of the other guys skin.

 Since those days, it has been clear to me that those who harbor ill will towards someone based on their skin color didn’t have any value in my book.

We all run into incidents of prejudice throughout our lives and I believe it is our job to stand up to it when it’s presented to us.

It’s why I was amongst those very happy to hear what the National Basketball Association did when remarks contributed to Los Angeles Clipper owner Donald Sterling came to light over the last week.

His ignorant, ridiculous and slave-owner view of those employed by him that were not of his skin color made my blood boil.

My wife and I had just watched “12 Years a Slave” on Saturday night, the day after the recording was released and boy, the similarities between what happened two centuries back and today didn’t seem that much different.

When I watch a movie that that, I am amazed, ashamed and hurt that people could feel that way about another human being.

The ownership of another human being was prevalent back then but in some sick minds like Sterling, still apply.

His employees were his property, just like plantation owner Edwin Epps thought of Solomon Northup in the above mentioned movie.

It’s a person with a sick soul that feels that way about another man or women.

They have to live with themselves, which is perhaps the toughest punishment of all, no amount of money (which Sterling will make buckets more money if he is forced to sell the team) can make somebody with that mindset whole.

His lifetime ban from attending any NBA game and 2.5 million dollar fine levied by new commissioner Adam Silver was about as much as the new head guy could bring, that and a promise to try and get Sterling to sell the Clippers down the line.

The fact that this guy has shown this kind of behavior over the years and leads people to wonder why he was allowed to stay around through it all is a good point.

When he put his voice out there on the recordings though, he let his ugly big secret out for the world to see. Something had to be done.

Give an idiot enough rope and his just might either fall over it or hang himself.

Sterling is not the last racist moron out there, not by a long shot.

But at least this guy is no longer going to have a front row seat to watch a team of men that are never to be considered property ply their craft and take what he loves most, his money.

We as a people need to continue to raise our children the way Holley and Bill Gaffney did, colorblind.

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