Stephen A. Smith’s defense of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s comments about bigotry is wonderfully refreshing. In a world increasingly populated by apology and retraction, Smith firmly defended his, and Cubans, statements.
Hundreds of people attacked Smith after he agreed with Cuban about basic prejudices every person possesses.
“Stephen A. Smith ain’t black.”
“You ain’t one of us.”
Smith used these, among other grammatically and visually impaired statements, to reiterate his words. “But when I say I don’t give a damn, I can’t even emphasize, that does it no justice,” said Smith. “I don’t care who in the black community disagrees with me. I’m not interested in their disagreement on this particular issue because they are not looking at the bigger picture.”
The controversy stems from Mark Cuban’s comment, “I mean, we’re all prejudiced in one way or another. If I see a black kid in a hoodie and it’s late at night, I’m walking to the other side of the street. And if on that side of the street, 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 the street.”
People were outraged. They ran around screaming and pointing their fingers because a white male made a blunt and honest statement about everyday stereotypes. They also ignored the latter half of the statement. “All of those folks ignored the part that he said about the white guy,” said an agitated Smith.
He argued that the black community ignores its negative stereotypes and often exacerbates them. “Everybody wants to ignore that in our community,” said Smith. “It’s getting on my damn nerves.”
Smith explained that walking to the other side of the street because you see someone who looks suspicious is not a racially charged statement. “We want to pounce on him making this statement and alluding to black folks.”
Whether geography, race, religion or any of the thousands of other factors that shape our upbringing, every person holds certain biases. “He talked about the prejudices that exist in all spectrums by all of us,” said Smith. “Are we going to sit here and literally act like we have no prejudices?”
He acknowledged that racism is still present, but countered the attempts to make the statement racist because Cuban used a black male as an example. “I do understand to some degree there is a level of racism,” said Smith. “That does not mean every single issue is race related.”
Later, Smith argues that many in the black community disillusion themselves, viewing celebrities like Jay-Z and Lebron as the American Dream. “The bigger issue that needs to be discussed, it’s the big elephant in the room and no one wants to touch on it.” This, he says, sets the youth up for failure.
“Everybody can’t be Jay-Z, that’s one in a billion,” said Smith. “Educate yourself, work hard, do what you have to do.”
Stephen Smith defending Mark Cuban sends a powerful message. Seeing the world through racism-tinted glasses provides something to scream and yell about. Notwithstanding twisted attempts at pushing for equality, it hurts both the accused and the accuser. Overt racism is never acceptable, but bias and prejudice will always be a part of life.
“So what Mark Cuban was saying was 100% correct, it’s just that simple.”