It might difficult but Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wants white people to talk more about race and privilege in a way that moves the conversation forward.
Cuban, who has been outspoken since the killing of George Floyd in police custody, spoke about the topic at an invitation-only event called “Courageous Conversation” organized by the Mavericks outside their stadium, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
“I need all of us to really open up and talk to each other, even when it’s difficult,” Cuban said during his brief speech at the beginning of the event. “Even when it’s not something we’re comfortable with, particularly those of you who look like me, the white people. Because it’s hard to discuss race when you’re white.
“The reality is, to be brutally honest, when people talk about white privilege, we get defensive. We all have this mechanism that I call manufactured equivalency to try to protect ourselves. We’ll say, ‘I have a lot of black friends.’ We’ll say, ‘I grew up in a mixed community, so I’m not like that. I can’t possibly be someone who takes advantage of white privilege,’ and manufacture this equivalency.
“It’s incumbent on us to stop doing that, because that doesn’t move us forward when we do that. That’s part of having a courageous conversation.”
The topic of privilege and the unequal treatment of African Americans by police has become a major political discussion as calls for police reform areheard across the country.
Also reportedly appearing at the event were Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber, Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall, Dallas County judge Clay Jenkins and Dallas Police chief Renee Hall.
The latter two both called for police reform:
“We need to radically transform the way we do policing in this country and this community,” Jenkins said, adding that he’d recently met virtually with activists who had a list of 10 suggested steps.
Alongside some of his team’s players, Cuban previously made an appearance at a vigil outside Dallas Police headquarters. The billionaire has also toyed with an independent run for president against Donald Trump, whom he has frequently criticized.
Cuban isn’t the only white person in the sports world that has discussed white privilege in the wake of Floyd’s death, as Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto published an op-ed saying white privilege made him complicit in the death of Floyd.