much ado has been made over the past 24 hours about dallas mavericks owner and billionaire mark cuban’s remarks about racism, prejudice and bigotry in an interview with inc. regardless of intent or the nature of one’s comments, stepping into the donald sterling aftermath is tricky and cuban has found out just how much. largely, the response has been negative, with many calling his remarks racist and insensitive. if you haven’t seen it, here’s the video in question.
my first response after watching the video? that’s exactly what jesus would say! (and that’s what every person should be saying!)
years ago, i read a piece from an academic journal that has drastically reshaped my views of racism ever since (sadly, i can’t remember what the journal was or who the author/researcher was). in essence, the author—who is a black female—posited that the question, “are you a racist?”, is no longer a relevant or helpful question. there are certainly racists that would be more than happy to share their racists views, but most people realize that being a racist and answering ‘yes’ to that question is entirely societally unacceptable these days. so, virtually everyone will answer ‘no’.
but does that mean that racism is virtually extinct? the answer, of course, is that it’s far from it. what this author proposed was a continuum that every person journeys on throughout their life. there are certainly people on the extreme left (overtly racist), but there are probably no or very few people on the far right. the rest of us are journeying somewhere in between, hopefully moving closer and closer to the right.
that view has helped me tremendously over the years, not just to see that others are prejudiced and bigoted, but that **i** am prejudiced and bigoted in ways that i don’t like to admit. much like mark cuban, i have to regularly confront the fact that, yes, i sometimes cross to the other side of the street based on the person who’s approaching.
i sometimes communicate differently to different people based on how they look. i often—without thinking about it—talk about “us” and “them” when describing people of a different race or class. i often catch myself making baseless assumptions about people in our neighborhood based on race. and this list could go on and on and on.
mark cuban is owning up to what jesus told us in his sermon on the mount: that we should first acknowledge the log in our own eye before pointing out the speck in others’ eyes.
and that’s what we should all do.
when we can first acknowledge the darkness in ourselves, we can better see the plight of the people who are victims of our prejudices. when we take the time to address the log in our own eye, everyone is helped by our self awareness.
so, take a minute to rewatch cuban’s remarks and see how you can find yourself in his honesty. it might just make a big difference.