For record, I stopped being a Dallas Mavericks fan when their owner, Mark Cuban, bankrolled the movie Redacted. That movie smears American troops fighting the war against jihadists. Mark Cuban chose his side. I chose mine. To the extent that I’m a fan of any NBA team now, I go with the San Antonio Spurs. They have a team ethic and their owner is a veteran. I’m sure Cuban’s heart just aches to hear that the Mavs lost a single fan over his flop of a movie.
That said, Cuban is coming under unfair criticism for being “bigoted.” It’s his own fault, since he misused the word “bigoted” to describe something that is not an example of bigotry. Mark Cuban may be a billionaire, but he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is.
“I know I’m prejudiced, and I know I’m bigoted in a lot of different ways,” Cuban said in an interview shown at the annual GrowCo convention hosted by Inc.magazine, according to The Tennessean.
“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.”
That is neither prejudice nor bigotry. Bigotry is hating a whole class of people because of some defining characteristic. If Cuban said that he avoids all black people, that would be bigotry. Every day we see leftists proudly proclaim their hatred for Christians. That is bigotry. Prejudice is pre-judging people based on something other than experience. Cuban isn’t guilty of that. Clothes make the man, so they say, and so does a face full of tattoos.
Cuban’s comments betray nothing more than common sense. In his inarticulate way, Cuban said that when he sees someone who gives off the trouble vibe, he avoids them. Who doesn’t do that? A fool, that’s who. Cuban echoes a controversial comment made years ago by none other than Jesse Jackson, when he said, “There is nothing more painful to me … than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.” Fearing robbery =/= racism. Knowing crime statistics and probabilities =/= racism.
Did I just defend Mark Cuban and Jesse Jackson in the same post? I suppose so.
We all have different definitions of what we see as a troublesome person. It’s our natural radar we use to survive, fight or flight and all that. Some people do fear or despise everyone who isn’t like them, and they’re wrong. But nothing in Mark Cuban’s comments suggests that he is one of those people. He’s looking at available evidence beyond innate characteristics, presented voluntarily by people he sees, and making a gut call. Everyone does that.
If avoiding people who appear to pose a threat now constitutes prejudice and bigotry, then we might as well scoop out our brains and hand them over to the most thin-skinned idiots in the universe. Clearly, we’re no longer allowed to think in the former home of the free, and we’re no longer allowed to buck political correctness in the former home of the brave.
Let’s just go ahead and replace courage and common sense with stupidity and timidity. That’s what Mark Cuban’s current critics want.