[guest post by Dana]
Earlier this week, Dallas Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban tried to have that conversation about race (posted about here). Anger, hand-wringing and indignation ensued. In other words, the reactions were predictable and if anything, confirmed that any conversation about race is not going to be a conversation, rather it’s going to be one person daring to step into the public square and honestly express his or her views and feelings about race, fear, and the whole damn thing, and if their views do not line up accordingly, they will instantly become the target of pre-programmed attacks and criticisms by the self-appointed gatekeepers of all things race. Thus, there is no real conversation, no give and take, no exchange of ideas. It’s a one way street where shutting down the individual is the goal. Any real conversation is now a near impossibility.
With regard to Cuban’s comments, what seemed to inflame the most was this particular portion,
“I’ve said this before. If I see a black kid in a hoodie at night on the same side of the street, I’m probably going to walk to other side of the street. If I see a white guy with a shaved head and lots of tattoos, I’m going back to the other side of the street.”
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith found himself taking heat for defending Cuban and his comments.
Smith emphasized that Cuban mentioned “white folks,” spoke about the “importance of presentation,” and said people were missing the point if they interpreted Cuban’s comments “along racial lines.”
“If you’re going to have a problem with what he said about the black person with the hoodie on then you have to have a problem with the white person he alluded to with tattoos all over his body,” he added. “I don’t think there is any ethnic group in America that should take issue with Cuban’s comments as a personal affront to them or as if he were isolating them.”
Smith commended Cuban for being “honest, forthcoming, and open about” his “fears and prejudices.”
“I applaud his honesty,” he said. “I took absolutely, positively no offense.”
After saying that he believed “every one” of the NBA owners would say the same thing Cuban did, Smith said that people cannot “want people to be honest” and then attack them “when they are honest, especially in measured tones.”
As a result, Smith’s twitter feed feed and email erupted with the inevitable accusations of: “Uncle Tom”, “You making excuses for him [Cuban]“, “You and him [Cuban] both look down on black people”, etc.
Smith, rather than backing down or back pedaling, further drove his point home in this frank and passionate video. Here is a man who is not only willing, but I suspect feels obligated, to step further into the public square and clarify his views, lest there be any confusion. He wants us to understand he does not care who condemns him, who hates him, who turns away from him: This is who he is. One surmises that his own sense of honesty takes precedence over all else, no matter the cost. It is absolutely worth watching.