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Cult of Outrage: Mark Cuban Racist or Honest?

I’ve written before about The Cult of Outrage and in doing so, I said that Don Lemon, of CNN and The Tom Joyner Morning Show, is one of the more prominent figures who seem to forever be asking for apologies from someone over something stupid he or she said. Well, the irony gods have spoken and it appears that I may owe Mr. Lemon something of an apology.

Recent comments made by Mark Cuban about racism and, not explicitly but most likely related to, Donald Sterling have predictably sparked outrage. In a recent discussion on CNN, however, Don Lemon emerged as the voice of reason in a society hungry to devour those they disagree with.

In a video posted by Mediaite.com, Lemon argues with high-priest in the Cult of Outrage Marc Lamont-Hill over whether Cuban’s honesty indicated that on some level he is a racist. Much of the discussion – if you three people talk at once can be called that – is centered on Cuban’s terminology, specifically “a black kid in a hoody.”

Cuban himself noted the particular insensitivity of this statement, later tweeting an apology to the family of Trayvon Martin. However, Lamont-Hill’s seems to forget that the “hoody” stereotype was borne from making that family’s specific tragedy into the focal point of the American racial discussion. Cuban was simply speaking in the vernacular of the zeitgeist.

In fact Lemon seems almost visibly exasperated in trying to make the distinction that Cuban was doing exactly what people say is needed – having “a conversation” about race and bias – and is being excoriated for it. Lemon called the statement “inartful,” although it might be more accurate to simply call it “blunt.”

What Lamont-Hill and other critics fail to recognize is that with these statements Cuban was admitting his own biases and, through implications, admitting that they don’t make sense. He wasn’t saying it was “okay” to feel this way, but was simply saying that it’s “normal.”

Instead of suggesting that all racists are vile and should be ostracized, Cuban is instead saying that there’s a little stupid in all of us and that the only way to fight it is through education and communication. Take it from me, it can be sometimes difficult to hear worthwhile messages over all of the yelling.

 

About the author

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Along with news and current events, he writes about parenting, art, and personal stories. His serial fiction story "The Prophet Hustle" is available at JukePop.com and a forthcoming independent ebook about the cam-modeling industry "Dirty Little Windows" will be available later this summer.