Monday, May 26, 2014

Corey Rockafeler NBA RAW- Mark Cuban's obtuse and opaque world view.

Henry David Thoreau, the great American poet and philosopher once remarked: " It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." So immediately after Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA basketball team Dallas Mavericks, pronounced his views on race,fear,and bigotry, I began to wonder what does his world look like? I am a huge Mark Cuban fan. His passion for the game to his willingness to confront the NBA on everything from poor officiating to defending his players, is a welcome respite from the staid old-boys ownership hierarchy. So it came as a bit of surprise when I listened and read his views on Donald Sterling and  Cuban's own inherent prejudices. Cuban characterized the NBA's inexorable ejection of Clipper owner Donald Sterling  for his racially incendiary remarks as " very,very slippery slope, ..... because you can't legislate stupidity."  Later in a separate interview, Cuban mentioned  " if I see a black kid in a hoodie, and its late at night, I am walking to the other side." He then added, " If on that side of that street, if there's a guy that has tattoos all over his face-white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere-I'm walking back to the other side of that street." At first glance this seems quite innocuous and refreshingly candid -a billionaire NBA owner speaking to the point  we all harbor some inherent biases.

I beg to differ. Bravo to Cuban for the very public pronouncement of his very linear and parochial views on race and bigotry. Notwithstanding his apology to Trayvon Martin's parents for the ill advised " black kid in a hoodie" metaphor, Cuban seems stuck on stupid for his continued defense of his choice of words. In Cuban's world are all  black kids in hoodies to be viewed as predators? What about the black kid with hoodie who may be a A+ plus student at  on his way to the gym to work out after being accepted to Harvard? Or what about the black kid with the hoodie who holds down two jobs who happens to be going to the store late at night to buy Pampers while his wife is at home watching the children and studying for her nursing school  exams? This dangerous and opaque logic is what George Zimmerman used when he profiled and killed Trayvon Martin utilizing the specious "stand your ground" defense. So excuse me for not engaging in the congratulatory genuflections for Cuban defense of the scary black kid in the hoodie proposition. Ok, Mark,  I get it, your cool, you can say you hang with Magic, know Jay Z,  roll with  Floyd Mayweather,......some of my best friends are black......OK, got that! But, this paternalistic condescension is hackneyed and as appetizing as a four day old egg white omelette. 

To exacerbate matters, Cuban continues to parade in his robe of self-denial by totally missing the point on Donald Sterling. Sterling is NOT being forced to sell his team due to the racial venom he spewed on the dubious V. Stiviano recordings. Rather, it is his well chronicled history of racial discrimination. Did Cuban conveniently forget  in 2003 and 2006 Sterling  was sued for discriminating against Black and Latin tenants in his rental properties?  The 2006 lawsuit resulted in a record payout of $ 2.723 million to the Justice Department. Actions trump words! These recent tapes of Sterling's racist bile is simply his denouement. If former NBA commissioner David Stern had not played ostrich with the other NBA owners, Sterling would have been banned long ago.

Cuban, like many NBA owners, dwell in social and cultural cocoon. I venture to say, neither Cuban nor his NBA owner brethren are vacationing in the South of France with people who don't look exactly like them and share their same world views. So excuse me if I give Cuban a flagrant foul for his ersatz defense of Sterling and his own trite views on race,fear,and bigotry.  Mark, if you want to do something dramatic expand your world and step out of your cultural comfort zone. You might learn a thing or two.

No comments:

Post a Comment