ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith put together one of the TV rants of the year after Mark Cuban lit up the media world with bluntly honest comments about race and prejudice.
Cuban’s initial comments were as follows:
“I know I’m prejudiced, and I know I’m bigoted in a lot of different ways.”
“If I see a black kid in a hoodie on my side of the street, I’ll move to the other side of the street. If I see a white guy with a shaved head and tattoos (on the side he now is on), I’ll move back to the other side of the street. None of us have pure thoughts; we all live in glass houses.”
Stephen A. Smith boldly responded saying he had “no problem whatsoever” with Cuban’s comments, and the predictable hate-mail began, and this epic rant then followed.
“‘Stephen A. Smith is a sellout,’ ‘Stephen A. Smith is an Uncle Tom,’ ‘Stephen A. Smith ain’t black,’ ‘you ain’t one of us’ — these are the kinds of things that were said to me yesterday,” Smith said on ESPN’s “First Take” Friday.
“When I say I don’t give a damn… that does it no justice,” Smith said. “I stand by everything that I said yesterday tenfold, 100-fold. And 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 here.”
While Cuban did say he’d “cross the street” if he saw a black kid in a hoodie at night, he also said “in the same breath” that he’d have reservations about a bald guy with tattoos all over his body, he continued.
“Everybody wants to ignore that,” Smith said. “I don’t want to say everybody because I’m not speaking for everybody. … We want to pounce on him making this statement and alluding the black folks or talking about somebody in a hoodie that happens to be black… He talked about the prejudices that exist in all spectrums by all of us. Are we going to sit here and literally act like we don’t have any prejudices?”
Smith went on to argue that what Cuban said is “100 percent correct.” The commentator also addressed the “elephant in the room,” which he said many white people won’t talk about out of fear of being labeled “racist.”
“I look at our unemployment rate consistently being double that of folks in white America. I do understand that, to some degree, there’s a level of racism that we all have to overcome… but that doesn’t mean every single issue is race related,” he said. “Sometimes it is about how you represent yourself, it is about how you present yourself.”
After all is said and done, Smith’s rant is one of the most brutally honest and refreshing televised commentaries on race in a long time.