Symbolic cleansing is the main theme, a classic. We wash our hands and the stink comes off. We go to penance and unload our sins. We say sorry and win a new blank slate on which to screw up all over again. They form a commission and get their official seal of approval. Bernie Madoff pays the penitential price, and his contemporaries are purified; the impurity having been removed, by opaque inference, those remaining are deemed uninfected.
A good field goal kicker has a short memory. An MMA fighter on a losing streak is 100% sure he's going to win the next one. He's cleansed himself of his loss and regained his
So of course I'm glad to know Donald Sterling is suffering. Did you know rich people suffer too? True story. And I did enjoy when the younger Stark girl killed that guy in the tavern. Get me to a priestery, I need a soul cleansing.
But Sterling's axing was a ritual reinvigoration, confirmation, celebration of the delusional purity, as always, of the inside. Revenge feels good. Smiting feels good. This is how every couple's quarrel plays out, the badness of the other vindicating the righteousness of the self. "You're wrong/bad because..." is at the same time "I'm right/good because." This is the basis of the two-party scam, you might have recognized. Somewhere Floyd and Greenwald are still telling each other what a bad, bad boy the other has been.
Back to our villain, this Sterling. All of the actors responsible for the purification ritual in question, previously aiders and abettors -- owners, media, players -- now get to pat themselves on their stylishly attired backs for their brave anti-racism. Can racism be overcome by "good" rich dudes punishing "bad" rich dudes for symbolic trespass after the former let slide decades of well-known economic-effect-having racism? Does it matter that most of those involved looked around first, being in the business of self-censorship, to check if their gut reaction that, 'hey, isn't this the kind of thing I'm supposed to get mad about?,' was the group, i.e., correct, reaction?
And of course, there are still well over 2 million humans incarcerated in the U.S. (to satisfy purity yearnings!) on demonstrably racist grounds. Outsiders by "race" are socio-economically, systemically, at an enormous disadvantage, to put it somewhat weakly. As far as the official civic religion goes, these facts, impacting millions of lives for the worse, are irrelevant. Nobody cares. Or, care, and you're a nobody. Nobody (with power) cared (enough to risk anything) when Donald Sterling screwed over poor non-whites. They only cared when his (fucking) mouth made (fucking) racist word things. The treasured belief that "we are not racist" can only be challenged by super-explicitly racist word things. Seems the problem is that most brains cannot translate systemic racism into coherent symbols with sufficient epistemic confidence to present a challenge to the "America not racist" narrative.