- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Upending conventional wisdom, renowned poet Maya Angelou has cited the NBA suspension of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling as a confirmation of American racial progress in a candid new interview with American CurrentSee, a digital weekly founded by Dr. Ben Carson in partnership with The Washington Times.

“Do you realize that even 25 years ago, had [Mr. Sterling] done this, there would be nothing — there would be a few heads turning, maybe?” Ms. Angelou said in her interview with American CurrentSee’s executive editor, Armstrong Williams. “But do you realize that this man has been banned? With all of his money and all of his history and the white skin which covers his whole body.”

“I just look and see how far we’ve come” toward racial equality, said the 86-year-old author and civil rights activist, who recited one of her poems at the 1993 presidential inauguration of Bill Clinton.

Viewed in the long perspective of civil rights progress, Mr. Sterling is better seen as “a throw-forward,” Ms. Angelou said with a touch of humor, “not a throwback.” 

Last month, NBA commissioner Adam Silver hastily announced he was banning Mr. Sterling from the league for life and fining him $2.5 million after a recording of racist statements he made in a private telephone conversation with his girlfriend were publicly disseminated without the embattled owner’s consent.

Ms. Angelou is embraced by the political left as a standard bearer of identity politics for her literary meditations on racism and sexism.

However, she is a committed Christian, and her surprising defense of Clarence Thomas’ controversial 1991 nomination to the Supreme Court was widely seen as a turning point in the explosive political battle that preceded his eventual confirmation.

Ms. Angelou also touched on the horrible kidnappings in Nigeria and on her faith in the CurrentSee interview. “I’m trying to be a Christian,” she told Mr. Williams. “I’m always amazed when people walk up to me and say, ‘I’m a Christian.’ I always think, ‘Already? You’ve already got it?’ I’m working at it. And at my age I’ll still be working at at 96.”

To read more of Ms. Angelou’s interview with American Currentsee, go to :http://www.americancurrentsee.com