White people “need to speak up” and call out racism when they see it, whether it is from businesses or people in their lives, billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban told CNBC on Wednesday.
“We, as white people, all know people who are racist. Maybe not overtly racist, but subtly racist. And when we see people act that way, we have to step in and say something,” Cuban said on “Squawk Box.” “That’s when things start to change.”
Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, said he understands that white people will find conversations about race and privilege difficult. He added it makes him uncomfortable, too.
“But the fact that it makes us uncomfortable gives us a reason to really want to start taking steps forward,” Cuban said.
Protests against racism and police brutality have spread across the U.S. in the weeks following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Lawmakers in Washington and at the local level have proposed reforms to law enforcement, and some of the nation’s largest companies also have announced plans to combat racial inequality and discrimination.
Cuban said he sees this moment in America as a “generational opportunity” to put in place lasting reforms. While there’s a need for programs designed to close racial inequality, he also stressed the need for white Americans to make changes in their own lives. That’s necessary to tear down the systems that perpetuate inequality, he added.
“We have to start to recognize that racism comes from us,” said Cuban, also an investor on “Shark Tank.” “It may just be one little baby step at a time that each one of us can take, but in aggregate, that is where real change occurs.”
— Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank,” on which Mark Cuban is a co-host.
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