Mr. Cope’s Cave: So What’s the News Here?


Mr. Cope, do you have a few minutes to discuss your opinion on the Donald Sterling controversy?


Do you mean nope, you do not have a few minutes? Or do you mean nope, you will not discuss your opinion on this matter?

It’s more like nope, I’m not going to waste a few minutes discussing a controversy about which I have no opinions to discuss. Besides, from what I can tell, about everything that could be said about that has pretty much all been said.

But it’s still an ongoing story. We can’t just stop talking about an ongoing story just because everything there is to be said about it has already been said.

We can’t?

Absolutely not! If we were to quit covering stories about which there is nothing left to be covered, why... why... it would be chaos. It would be news pandemonium! We would be turning on the news or opening a paper without having any idea whatsoever of what we would find there. Is that what you want?... new news every day? Every hour?

Gosh, I hadn’t thought of it like that. Getting new news all the time would mean they’d need more news reporters, wouldn’t it? And they’d probably have to lay off the opinion writers to pay for the new news reporters. And without opinion writers, where would regular people get their opinions?

That’s right, that’s absolutely right! We can’t have regular people running around trying to think of what they should be thinking. Nothing would get done!

Jeez, I see what you mean. It would be like taking cellphones away from teenagers.

Exactly! It would be the end of life in America as we know it. And another thing, Mr. Cope. The idea that you can’t think of a single thing to add to the Donald Sterling discussion is simply hard to believe.

So you don’t care if what I say about it is the same damn old thing that’s been said and said and said?

No. Why would I?

OK, then. What if I were to say the whole Donald Sterling controversy is no more than what a lot of us have been saying for years, that America is still crawling with racists, and that all you have to do is barely scratch the surface to find them, and that anyone who would argue that there is no more significant racism left in America is either a stupid racist, or a lying racist?

You’ve been saying that for years?

Yup, for years. At least since I was old enough to read more than the funny papers in newspapers.

So you’re saying you formed your opinion on pervasive racism in American by... what? By reading the news?

Yeah. By reading the news, watching the news, listening to the news. It’s been there all along. You didn’t think this Donald Sterling asshole just dropped in from the vacuum of Planet X, did you? And who do you think he’s so worried about when it comes to his girlfriend being seen hobnobbing with black people? He doesn’t care about the contact. He just cares about other people seeing the contact. And why’s that? Because he knows there are lots and lots of people around who are just like him. People who have no problem at all with interracial relationships, as long as no one else is there to see it.

Well then, Mr. Cope. I think I have all that I need. I want to thank you for...

See, it’s the opposite of there being lots of people who have no business or social relationships at all with blacks, but who go out of their way to be seen mingling with a black person, just so no one will think they are racist.

Then you’re saying there is an opposite nature to racism? An anti-matter racism, as it were?

No, no. It’s all racism. Saying there is no racism is racist, and even insisting you’re not a racist indicates you’re probably more racist than most. Get it?

If I understand you correctly, it means everyone is a racist, and there’s no point in denying it, and there is no hope of us ever being anything but racists. Then why bother to try to fight racism, if there’s no end to it?

Because we don’t have to end racism to end racist practices and racist behavior. We can’t stop people from seeing black skin... or brown skin or white skin, for that matter... and we can’t stop people from preferring one color over another. But we can stop people from screwing with people on the basis of their skin color.

So you’re saying people can think what they want, as long as what they are thinking doesn’t translate to actions and their actions don’t adversely affect the people they are thinking about?

Uh, yeah. That about covers it.

But I don’t see how that makes racism any different from anything else. Like one’s attitudes towards the opposite sex. Or how children get along with one another. Or... or... anything!

It’s not. Not a bit different. Racism is just one of those things we have to deal with in ourselves and others every day, every hour. And how we deal with it isn’t a matter of opinion. It’s a matter of morality. You know... the whole “do onto others” thing.

I’m sorry, Mr. Cope. But what you’re telling me here does not seem very newsworthy. In fact, it seems rather like old news.

Yeah, you’re right. But I did warn you, didn’t I?