Mark Cuban says it’s “a moral imperative” for white people in America to change their behaviors and mindsets in order to address racism.
“Dear White People: We are the ones that need to change,” the billionaire owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks wrote in a tweet on Monday.
Cuban’s tweet also included a link to an open letter written by Emerson College president M. Lee Pelton, who is a black man. The letter discusses Pelton’s personal experiences with racism in American and the “persistent structural racism that under girds American society and permits the police and others to kill black people.”
“This is not one man’s story,” Cuban wrote in the tweet, referring to Pelton’s letter. “This is almost every black man’s story. Which is why the problem is ours. We need to find OUR way to change what we do. There is no quick fix. It’s a moral imperative.”
Cuban previously joined a handful of Mavericks players over the weekend in Dallas at a gathering to protest police brutality and honor the memory of George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man who died in May after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd’s death, which has been ruled a homicide by an official autopsy and resulted in charges being brought against four Minnesota police officers, sparked widespread outrage and protests across the country.
“This is our community; our country,” Cuban told The Dallas Morning News on Sunday while attending the protest. “Both are hurting. I wanted to be here to listen. To understand better the pain the African-American community is going through. And to show that the Mavs organization will be here to help.”
Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall, CEO of the Mavericks and the first black female CEO in the NBA, told CNBC Make It thatit is important for leaders to both speak out and to listen during this time.
“As a leader, it’s important that I’m clear about what I stand for and what I am against. I abhor racism, disparate treatment, inequities and inequality,” Marshall wrote on LinkedIn.
And it’s not just leaders who must help effect change. In order to move forward, “we all have a role to play in this,” Marshall told CNBC Make It.
In the open letter that Cuban shared on Twitter, Emerson College’s Pelton noted: “The most important question is: What are you going to do?”
“This is not a black problem, but a structural issue built on white supremacy and centuries of racism. It’s your problem. And until you understand that, we are doomed to relive this week’s tragic events over and over again. What changes will you make in your own life? Begin with answering that question and maybe, just maybe we will get somewhere,” Pelton wrote in the letter.
To that end, some of Cuban’s Twitter followers asked him how the billionaire himself intends to change his own behaviors to address racism.
“I used to think to treat people equally meant treating them the same. Like it was a math equation. I was wrong,” Cuban responded. “I’m learning that treating people equally means treating them with equal amounts of respect, for who they are and what they have experienced.”
Cuban added that he “learned the hard way that respect comes from our differences, not from thinking everyone should or could be the same.”