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The language used by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is the kind of hate-filled speech associated with grainy black-and-white footage of racist gatherings in the South a half-century ago.

Credit NBA Commissioner Adam Silver with a virtually instantaneous and unequivocal condemnation of Sterling’s fetid comments.

The National Basketball Association has banned Sterling for life, fined him $2.5 million and is pressuring him to sell his team. One can argue that Sterling can say what he wants, but the owners can choose with whom they will associate.

Sterling’s racist thoughts and values should be a relic of past, ancient history. To hear these chilling articulations of racial contempt from the owner of a pro basketball team or a Nevada rancher is alarming.

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Two other words come to mind: affirmative action. The country is still healing and evolving on racial, ethnic and immigration issues.

How much more must be done is brutally reinforced by Sterling’s contemptuous rant.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Erik Smith, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).

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