Programming Note: “Race and Sports in America: Conversations” airs Monday at 5 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area.
The push for racial and social equality is a mission that's close to Steph Curry's heart. The Warriors star doesn't just talk the talk. He walks the walk, using his platform to help push the country to a better place.
Curry's status as one of the NBA's best players has opened many doors for him. However, Curry's status has not left him exempt from the racism and prejudice of society. Curry and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley discussed the "subtle racism" that well-spoken, successful Black men face when they are viewed as "anomalies."
"I think one thing you said, too, is the preconceived notions of how they view rich, successful Black people as anomalies and our intelligence and our well spokenness, that's always the first thing you hear," Curry said as part of NBC Sports' "Race and Sports in America: Conversations" which will air Monday at 5 p.m. PT. "If somebody knows how to be articulate if they know how to ... come into a room ‑‑ that's the subtle racism and prejudice that kind of starts to add on itself.
"And if another White person hears that comment, they're going to think the same thing. And it's not going to trickle down to anybody else, and be able to create opportunities for somebody else to get that in that room and prove their value, prove their worth. It's just shifting perspectives and, again, holding everybody accountable whether it's a private conversation, whether it's a tweet, whether it's a video. Whatever it is, to do the right thing, no pun intended, but to see everybody as equal and that's all we're asking for."
[RACE AND SPORTS IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]
To Barkley, he knows there's a difference between the way rich Black people are treated by society and how poor Black people are treated. But he wants to find a way to give poor Black people and poor White people a way to achieve economic success that can open doors for them.
"The notion that rich and famous Black people are treated like regular Black people, that's not right," Barkley said. "We get treated great. But I always worry about how we treat poor Black people.
"And that's the disadvantage that us four ‑‑ we're at a disadvantage because White people treat us great," Barkley said of he, Curry, Jimmie Rollins and Ozzie Smith. "And, like I say, I'm not worried about how they treat us because it really comes down to economics, too, at some point, because rich Black people aren't treated like poor Black people. And that's the thing we've got to really engage conversation. How can we get more Black people and poor White people also, but they're in the same boat, give them economic opportunity?
"That's what America's really got to grapple with."
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America has a long way to go to fulfill its promise as a country. There's reason to be positive that change can come, and America can become a better, more equal nation.
Curry is committed to helping make that a reality, no matter how long it takes.