“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 (on the side he now is on), 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
This statement is creating a frenzy, causing many to say Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, is racist. Of course, this comes on the heels of the Donald Sterling (Los Angeles Clipper owner caught on audiotape making disparaging statements about and towards Blacks) controversy.
I read the whole statement and although I can’t prove that Cuban is indeed racist, what I got out of it is that he is prejudicial. And no, that’s not the same thing, although a racist is prejudicial. In fact, this is the other quote people are reporting, “I know I’m prejudiced, and I know I’m bigoted in a lot of different ways.” But, does this make him a racist?
When this story broke, I did a Google search for Mark Cuban and noticed that some headlines mentioned only the part of the paragraph that says, “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.” As I write this post, I have yet to see a headline that shows this sentence, “If I see a white guy with a shaved head and tattoos (on the side he now is on), I’ll move back to the other side of the street.” Why not? Well, the particular statement being publicized draws better headlines than saying Cuban is scared of another white guy.
But, does this make Cuban racist? In my opinion, it just makes him honest. He is right. As humans, we all have preconceived notions of others based on either public perception, prior experience or simply, ignorance. Am I anti-police because I say I don’t trust cops based on my experience or perception of them? Does it mean I hate cab drivers because of my perception of the bad ones I typically see? Should I really believe that lawyers are bad because of the corrupt ones I’ve come across?
Does a black man wearing a hoodie and seen as a thug equate to the bald-headed white man with tattoos who might be mistaken for a skinhead? A definitive no. So, the fact that Cuban uses those two examples show the opposite side of the spectrum based on his perceptions of the stereotype of both races. To label him a racist based on that analogy may be stretching it a bit.
But, as I stated, it doesn’t actually mean he is not a racist either, but, if I have to go by that paragraph alone, I wouldn’t call him a racist.