Thank you, Mark Cuban, for at least being honest

Which is more than I can say for a lot of folks recently.

This morning, I was talking with my 80+ year old mother when the topic of Mark Cuban came up. More specifically, his comments the other day about how if he saw a black kid in a hoodie late at night, he would move to the other side of the street. He went on to say if he then saw a white guy, bald and covered with tattoos, he’d move back across the street. Oh the hue and cry that went up. So many have come out of the woodwork to decry Cuban for being a racist. What they fail to mention is how Cuban said he knows he has these thoughts and he fights them. He also makes sure his employees go to sensitivity training if they appear to have a problem with race.

I will admit using the hoodie comment wasn’t the wisest choice of words. It brought up memories of Treyvon Martin. However, Cuban did the stand up thing and he called the Martin family to apologize. I give him credit for that. I also give him credit for being honest and admitting he has thoughts based on stereotypes — and, be honest, don’t we all? — and yet is trying to get past them.

What I don’t applaud is the African-American sportscaster for, I think, ESPN, who said “shame on him” because Cuban owns a team with African-American players. I guess this so-called journalist would be happier if Cuban never admitted to having a racist thought. Not that such a thing should surprise me. There is a group of vocal folks who want to crucify anyone who doesn’t fall into lockstep with their right think ways.

Yeah, you knew this had to get back to Tim “Uncle Timmy” Bolgeo and Archon. I’m not going to to talk — too much at least — about the cowardice shown by the concom in caving less than 24 hours after an anonymous FB poster started calling Uncle Timmy racist. Nor will I spend much, if any time, wondering if it wasn’t all a set-up by the concom. What I want to address is the double standard shown by those attacking Uncle Timmy and by the concom — and by so many others who decry racism, real and perceived.

Yes, I know there are going to be those who will say I know not what I speak of. After all, I am white and grew up in a middle class neighborhood. I haven’t had people look at me and make judgments based on my skin color or whatever. There is no way a “white” can understand what it means to be torn from your home and loved ones, sold into slavery and then made into property, not even a second-class citizen.

To which I say bullshit.

First of all, prejudice is not a whites-only affliction. It is a condition all humans suffer from, whether you want to admit it or not. We all make judgments, conscious and unconscious, based on how a person looks, dresses, talks and even smells. Some of us are better at fighting those decisions and trying to get past them. But they are there nonetheless and, like it or not, those preconceptions will always be there in some form. It is part of being human. The challenge is to know it, recognize it and get past it.

The way to so-called enlightenment is not to do what we are seeing with Archon and even in the SFWA battles. It isn’t to take to social media and commit the same sort of behavior you are accusing others of. It sure isn’t to wear your victimhood like a badge of honor and demand that all grievances, real and imagined, against you, your family, your race and your sex or whatever be atoned for through reparations. Yes, there has been a post saying that all old white men need to make reparations for slavery.

Social Justice Warriors take note, those you attack today may be easy targets but what are you going to do when you find yourselves in the role of target? It’s going to happen. How do I know this? Because I’ve seen it happen in my lifetime. You attack white males in general as long as they are of a certain age. You forget that many of those same white males are the ones who marched with Dr. King or who volunteered to be part of the first desegregated schools in the South (yep, brought it back around to Uncle Timmy). You simply see a man of a certain age and race — hmm, sounds like profiling to me and isn’t that prejudice in action?

As for how can I, as a white woman raised in a comfortable if not affluent setting, sit in judgment? Well, let’s see. My great grandmother was born on the Trail of Tears, torn from the land her family had owned — yes, owned — and stripped of their belongings and friends. Another set of ancestors, further back, came over as indentured servants and worked their asses off to clear their “debt”. Not quite slavery because they could earn their way out, but not that far from it either. Do a little research on the lives of some of the indentured servants who came over from England and Europe if you don’t believe me. And I don’t mean the sanitized history we get now. Go to original papers and read it in their own words.

Then there was a turning point in my life when I realized what others must feel like when they were told they couldn’t do something because of how they looked or what they believed in. Yes, it even happens to gingers, which is what I was before there was more white in my hair than red. I was maybe ten when I visited friends of my father’s in Ohio. Other than my father, I was the only Gentile to ever be in their home. When I went shopping with them, there was more than one establishment I wasn’t allowed in because I wasn’t Orthodox Jewish.

Young as I was, I understood that it was religious but it had me thinking about how others must feel when faced with similar situations.  I didn’t take it as permission to protest against all things Jewish or to start deriding them for being evil because they wouldn’t let me in.

Maybe it all comes down to this: I was raised to be proud of my history — the good and the bad. But I was told history was just that, history. It may be the foundation but the important thing is to look forward. I’m not saying we should forget the ills of the past. But to continue to dwell on them doesn’t make them go away. It doesn’t change the minds of those who still think the good old days were the best. What it does is keep the wounds open and doesn’t give them a chance to heal.

Most of all, if you are going to condemn someone for being a racist or sexist or whatever, be damned sure you aren’t outing yourself as the same thing — or worse — in your comments. You may not like what someone says but that doesn’t give you free license to say even worse things, much less to slander them. If you want to use their words against them, fine. But do it in context. In this day and age of the internet, it is easy to find out what the context was and your attempt to manipulate things to meet your agenda will come to light. Guess what happens then? You damage your cause, possibly irreparably.

Most of all, get a sense of humor. You can turn almost any situation around and score points for your side if you can laugh at the offending comment and do a come back. Or learn history and how to apply logic in your arguments. Oh, wait, if you do that, you might see that your stance isn’t as solid as you thought.

I have no problem with folks taking stands for what they see as right. That’s the joy of this country. We have the freedom to do so. But, don’t come back and condemn me if I point out the historical fallacies in your argument or note that you are acting in the exact same way you allege the person you condemn has acted. I have no patience for double standards.

And, from what I am seeing on the internet these days, neither do a lot of other folk. The push back is beginning and the SJWs are about to see that just screaming and stomping their feet like a kid having a tantrum isn’t enough to win over souls and support.

*     *     *

Vengeance From Ashes (new)Vengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty) (written under the pen name Sam Schall) is the first in the Honor and Duty series.

Here’s the blurb:

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back. 

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long. 

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.

4 Comments

  1. To see certain individuals (tattooed and hopped up) in any race and to move across the street is not racism– it is being prudent. If I see anyone in a hoodie with it up, and it is not raining, I get the feeling something bad is going to happen. I guess it is hoodie racism. *snort As for Mark Cuban, I agree. When I traveled I learned that the word “stranger” in many cultures also means “enemy.” Sometimes those stereotypes can save our lives. Other times we need to rethink why we do something.

  2. Any time we encounter someone, we do an automatic threat assessment. There’s no check list of what we check for first, just a gestalt of a fast impression. Gender, style of dress, age and yes, race, all come into it. Stance, movement, and his attention is a prime signal of danger, or lack there of.

    This isn’t prejudice, it’s self preservation. A drunken old white guy is going to get avoided if at all possible. Especially if he’s looking at you and changing to an intercept course. The black man in the suit will get a polite nod as you walk right past him.

    We all react differently, and how we react changes as we add new experiences to our collection.

    Case in point. I pulled into a convenience store parking lot, not paying a lot of attention, as it was a familiar place in a safe neighborhood. So I’m halfway into a parking slot before it really registers that the car on the driver’s side has it’s hood open and a milling group of (gestalt) Black teenagers in non-standard gangish garb, half with dreadlocks . . . My sensible self says, time to leave. My PC self says, “oh, you racist!” and my conscious mind has now had time to take a second look at a _very_ young group of young men dressing up to be “different” like all the other teenagers and looking scared because they know they stick out in this upscale 75% white area and what do they do now? So I park and hop out “Dead battery? I’ve got jumper cables.” Instant relaxation, big beaming smiles . . . got their car started and off they went.

    If the same thing had happened before I’d had teenage boys, I probably would not have helped them. But by then I could read all the signs of “Just kids that don’t know what to do.” Am I prejudiced? No. I didn’t “pre-judge” them, I judged by how they presented themselves.

    But just like Mark Cuban, I’m probably foolish to publicly admit that race does enter into my situational awareness.

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