I’m sure all of us have much more important things to do than to worry about the race theorizing of random billionaires, but I thought I’d spare a few pixels on a quote from Mark Cuban — dot-com billionaire and owner of the NBA franchise Dallas Mavericks.
In early June, NBA team owners will come together and vote on whether or not to oust Donald Sterling — the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers — from the league. As you may recall, a few months ago, Sterling was caught on voice recording imploring his biracial girlfriend not to consort publicly with black people. Mark Cuban, who has been hesitant to condemn Sterling’s comments, not so much for their content but for the fact that they were intended to be private, spoke recently in an interview admitting his own biases. Here’s the money quote:
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.
I don’t mean to read too much into Cuban’s statement, but I find it interesting that for a “black kid” to be threatening he must only don a hoodie (indeed, by this calculus, I’ve been threatening for the majority of my life). Yet for a “white guy” to reach the same street-crossing threshold “a shaved head and tattoos” are required.
Whether Mark Cuban realizes what he’s admitted here or not is irrelevant and he’s not alone in this way of thinking. We should all realize, however, that this is the magic that turns innocent black kids into murderers and thieves. This is the magic that transforms gun-toting, vigilante, neighborhood watchmen into heroes.