The rancor surrounding Donald Sterling’s myriad race rants is still producing some insane statements. The latest of which comes from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
“I think we’re all bigots and I don’t think there’s any question about that,” Cuban said.
Um, no Mark. I’m not a bigot, you are. And I would appreciate it if you didn’t accuse me of being one.
But I digress.
“I know I’m prejudiced and I know I’m bigoted in a lot of different ways.”
“There’s a part of me that always takes into account race, gender and age…” Cuban added.
But wait, there’s more.
Doing his best Jesse Jackson impersonation Cuban said, “If I see a black kid in a hoodie and it’s late at night, I’m walking to the other side of the street. And if on that side of the street, there’s a guy that has tattoos all over his face–white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere–I’m walking back to the other side of the street.”
Hold up. Timeout.
Sure, Mark Cuban is being “honest” and “candid” about his prejudice. But to be clear, what he is saying is the textbook definition of racism. It’s racist now just as it was racist when Jesse Jackson said something eerily similar. “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage of my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved,” Jackson said.
Cuban also had this to say. “While we all have our prejudices and bigotries, we have to learn that it’s an issue that we have to control, that it’s part of my responsibility as an entrepreneur to try to solve it, not just to kick the problem down the road.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t see a problem with that whatsoever,” said ESPN commentator Steven A. Smith. “I don’t think there’s any ethnic group in America that should take issue with it as a personal affront to them as if he was isolating them or talking about them. He was simply being honest, forthcoming and very open about some of the fears and prejudices that he may have.”
Again, there’s a difference between preference and prejudice. And I’m not saying this as a sideline commentator. This black male was robbed at gunpoint by a “black kid in a hoodie” — a former classmate of mine — in December 2001.
Thankfully, I wasn’t blown away that day. What’s more, I don’t judge young black males wearing hoodies as gun-tooting robbers.
I’m all for being intellectually honest and broadening the parameters of our discussion about race in America. But what I won’t tolerate is people like Mark Cuban projecting their own racist preconceptions onto me.
Thanks, but no thanks.
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