Florida A & M University Law Review


Imani Jackson


Much maligned billionaire and former Clippers owner Donald Sterling ignited national race relations discourse after his companion, V. Stiviano, was connected to the leak of a conversation in which Sterling made anti-black comments. This author posits that Sterling's command that his companion Stiviano disassociate with people of color, particularly black people, is covertly and overtly racist. Covert racism is implicit in the nature of their conversation.

This paper will focus on Stiviano's identity and the violence white men inflicted upon her because of her race and the circumstances surrounding her relationship with Sterling. This author contends that Stiviano attempted to distance herself from being racially identifiable due to at least a cursory understanding of the subjugation accompanying being a woman of color, particularly a black woman. While Stiviano's story includes name changes and plastic surgery to establish an ethnically ambiguous beauty and exotic existence, when she was demonized in the media, punched in the face, maligned in the media, and called racist and sexist slurs, historical racial and gender hierarchies were reinforced. Thus, this research suggests that America's white supremacist, misogynistic classifications of women of color should be replaced with critical race feminist self-identification and severe hate crime penalties. This author argues three main points. First, the master's conduit has no associative freedom--demonstrated when Sterling perpetuated the system used by white men and white male institutions to exert control over black women in the United States. Second, if blackness is property, then black men own larger shares than black women. Patriarchy affords black men more societal value than black women. Finally, pretty canvases cannot escape bigotry and violence. Though Stiviano actively constructed a Eurocentric and materialistic identity, she was still subjected to bigotry and violence.