Jerome Miron / USA TODAY Sports
“I know I’m prejudiced and I know I’m bigoted in a lot of different ways. If I see a Black kid in a hoodie on my side of the street, I’ll move to the other side of the street. If I see a White guy with a shaved head and tattoos, I’ll move back to the other side of the street. None of us have pure thoughts; we all live in glass houses.” –MARK CUBAN
“There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in 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.” – REVEREND JESSE JACKSON
This morning I read about the Mark Cuban interview where he made the above remarks. And in my opinion there is absolutely nothing wrong with what he said. He’s being honest, acknowledging prejudices that he has, and that all of us have to some degree. Seriously, if you claim that you NEVER prejudge someone for any reason, be it race, ethnicity, age, gender, height, weight, clothes, accent, whatever, you are LYING. And you know it.
But of course some stupid people on the internet, especially Twitter, which seems to exist solely for people to take things out of context and act “outraged”, want to just focus on what Cuban said about “Black kid in a hoodie”, and criticize him for that. Even an article I read which does a pretty good job of defending Cuban, and putting his remarks into proper context, still used the purposely inflammatory headline of:
Sheesh, nice click-bait.
First of all, as someone in the comments in one article pointed out, how often do you really think that Mark Cuban, networth: $2.6 BILLION, is ever really walking along a street somewhere where he has to worry about whose also on the street (especially at night)? You know he’s being driven around everywhere and got bodyguards protecting him and his family whenever they go out. So he was just making up a quick hypothetical situation off the top of his head. Did he really need to be more extra-specific in his description. Would it have been less “offensive” if he’ said “a Black kid in a hoodie, and sagging pants, and a tear-drop tattoo on his face, and red doo-rag on his head, and smoking a joint, etc.” You know darn well what he meant.
But the point is that we all have certain prejudices, that influence how we think and behave. And sometimes they can be negative. And the key to ending that sort of thing is being able to be honest about it, talk about it, and change how we think and behave when necessary. That’s not going to happen if you just shut everybody down as soon as they say anything that’s not all rainbows and unicorns. And no one race has any exclusive dibs on prejudice. Not only is there the Jesse Jackson quote posted above but, look, during a lifetime of being around Black people, I’ve been in the private settings in groups of Black people where other races have been disparaged. It happens. Sorry, but nobody’s perfect.
Again, honest and open dialog is the only way that we, as a nation, are going to move forward. Mark Cuban should be commended for what he said, not attacked.
And whomever the heck Bomani Jones is, he’s an race-baiting idiot.