George Floyd’s death has sparked a national conversation on racism, particularly through police brutality.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN:
“I need all of us to really open up and talk to each other, even when it’s difficult,” Cuban said during his brief speech at the beginning of the event. “Even when it’s not something we’re comfortable with, particularly those of you who look like me, the white people. Because it’s hard to discuss race when you’re white.
“The reality is, to be brutally honest, when people talk about white privilege, we get defensive. We all have this mechanism that I call manufactured equivalency to try to protect ourselves. We’ll say, ‘I have a lot of black friends.’ We’ll say, ‘I grew up in a mixed community, so I’m not like that. I can’t possibly be someone who takes advantage of white privilege,’ and manufacture this equivalency.
“It’s incumbent on us to stop doing that, because that doesn’t move us forward when we do that. That’s part of having a courageous conversation.”
Cuban is right: We must get more comfortable discussing race. Racism affects so much of how our society operates. For too long, we’ve downplayed the issue. Even when addressing it, we’ve often been too vague to meaningfully address problems.
Hopefully, that is changing.
Yet, merely discussing racism more – while progress – wouldn’t be enough. We need to thoughtfully discuss racism.
After all, Cuban praised Donald Sterling for years after the former Clippers owner’s racism and sexism came to light. Cuban said he’d cross the street if he saw “a black kid in a hoodie” late at night. In an NBA where most owners are white and most players are black, Cuban demanded an apology from Draymond Green for suggesting not using the term “owner” and allegedly kicked a Dallas player (Lamar Odom).
To Cuban’s larger point: We can do better.