IMMEDIATE RELEASE 22 May 2014
Today’s Events in Historical Perspective
America’s Longest-Running Column, Founded 1932
By Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift
WASHINGTON – Billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, speaking in the context of Donald Sterling, who is being forced to give up ownership of the LA Clippers due to his racist slurs, proclaimed: “We are all prejudiced in one way or the other.” Baloney. If bigots have one thing in common it is their assumption that most people agree with them.
We have all witnessed the phenomenon: A racist tells a degrading ethnic joke, confident of the agreeing laughter that will follow. A bigot, speaking in open conversation, casually mentions that everyone knows this group or that group misbehaves because they are members of this group or that group. But thankfully, in modern American society, such talk rarely evokes the assumed response.
Cuban went on: “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.” Then, apologizing after being chided over an example that conjured up images of Trayvon Martin, who was killed while wearing similar attire, Cuban explained, “In hindsight I should have used different examples.” In other words, he believes that most people are bigoted and will walk to the other side of the street if an African-American approaches in something less than a business suit. Once again, baloney.
How many people have any of us actually witnessed crossing the street to avoid a person of a different race? People avoid trouble, and trouble comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors, but the idea that size, shape, or color alone implies trouble is pure bigotry.
And bigots would have us confuse preferences and tastes with bigotry. When creating an invitation-to-a-party list, most people limit the number of attendees based upon personalities and congeniality, not race, religion, color, or sexual orientation. But if an excluded individual happens to be other than a white heterosexual Protestant, the bigot will assume bigotry was at play. It is as though we exist on parallel planes, and never the twain shall meet.
Bigotry continues to be an underlying cause of many of the world’s troubles, but a decreasing factor in America, which is why racist remarks from Mark Cuban and Donald Sterling are newsworthy, and why the inscription on the headstone of Millard and Henrietta Cohn, this writer’s parents, reads: “They were intolerant of intolerance.”
© 2014 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.
Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.
END WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUND