President Obama is in Malaysia (a first for a U.S. President since Lyndon Johnson in 1966) to meet with southern Asian leaders and sign a military agreement with the Philippines. He took time out from all of that to comment on the Sterling imbroglio, which is kind of noteworthy in itself. He spoke at a town hall meeting at Malaya University in Kuala Lumpur, today.
President Barack Obama said Sunday that comments reportedly made by the owner of a U.S. pro basketball team are “incredibly offensive racist statements,” before casting them as part of a continuing legacy of slavery and segregation that Americans must confront.
“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk,” Obama said when asked to respond to the reported comments from Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling.
Obama cast the comments through a broader prism of racism in America, adding that “we constantly have to be on guard on racial attitudes that divide us rather than embracing our diversity as a strength.”
“The United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation, that’s still there, the vestiges of discrimination,” Obama said during a news conference in Malaysia, where he was traveling.
Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant said a lot as well in only five words.
I couldn't play for him
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 26, 2014
Next question: are we going to see a pro-Donald Sterling backlash? Nothing so far, but the nuthatch wing of the conservative party usually never fails to make itself heard on questions of race, and now that President Obama has made a statement, one has to believe that the Knee-Jerk Reaction Machine is now lurching into motion.
Donald Sterling KNEW He Was Being Recorded — Ex GF Tells Friends http://t.co/McIzUy9EVc
— TMZ Sports (@TMZ_Sports) April 27, 2014