Just a few days ago, private audio recordings shone a light on the racism of L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling. This shouldn't have been a surprise - he's been quietly known for years as a discriminatory landlord. But his past actions and lawsuits didn't lead to any change.
What's different this time? The NBA players stood together and worked collectively across the league to say that his attitudes are not acceptable. They were ready to walk out on Tuesday's playoff games if serious action wasn't taken. Players were not going to accept a slap on the wrist and going back to the status quo.
The pressure of that collective action led directly to the NBA Commissioner imposing a lifetime ban on Donald Sterling and a 2.5M fine. This is not over either - the NBA owners will have a vote on whether to revoke his ownership and force him to immediately sell the team.
This story went way beyond the network of sports fans. Everyday people were talking about it this week. This is a teachable moment. How many white people are not aware of the lived experiences of people of color every day? With our world often self-segregating into communities of people of the same ethnicity, we're missing the opportunity to hear and learn from those that are different than ourselves.
I understand that race is a scary conversation to have, when well-meaning people are concerned about saying the wrong thing and offending somebody else. But it's a conversation we need to have, if we want to ever move forward and get beyond the structural inequity in our society. I applaud Alex Johnson for starting that conversation with his new website teachablemomentla.com. Take a moment and share your thoughts there, and we can all move forward together in Los Angeles.