Over the last month, America has been having a long-overdue conversation about race, justice and equality in our society. At NBC Sports Washington, we wanted to further the dialogue by providing a forum for DMV-area sports figures who are thought leaders on these important issues.
NBC Sports Washington is launching the first part of an ongoing video series entitled Race in America this week. Ian Mahinmi, Natasha Cloud, and Mike Locksley joined Chis Miller for the first of these roundtable discussions to share their experiences, thoughts and how they’re using their platforms in this fight. To watch the full interview, click here.
Wizards center Ian Mahinmi has been familiar with the history and horrors of racism from a very early age. With a father from Benin, Africa, he was taught about slavery as a child and in graphic detail, to the point where it numbed his views on other subjects of race relations.
He explained in honest and introspective detail on 'Race in America,' a panel hosted by NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller that also featured Mystics guard Natasha Cloud and University of Maryland football coach Mike Locksley.
Here's what Mahinmi said:
"Me, I have such a different view, first because I'm African. You wouldn't believe the stuff that I've seen and that I was exposed to. My dad always showed me what was slavery at home. I have pictures. My dad always showed me everything. So, it wasn't the first time I saw something crazy like that happen," Mahinmi said, referring to the video of George Floyd being suffocated by a police officer in Minneapolis.
RACE IN AMERICA: WATCH THE FULL ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION HERE
"It's almost like you look back and I felt a little embarrassed of myself that it took [George Floyd's] story for me to be shocked again. It's almost like I became numb to it. It's like 'I've seen this before, it's crazy but I've seen it before.' It's like okay, alright, that's it, no more. Now, I'm a grown man and I have kids. I'm going to do anything I can now, anything in my power to do my part."
That feeling of frustrated indifference is one Mahinmi wants to prevent his daughters from ever experiencing in their own lives as African-Americans in the United States.
"Is it normal that I'm numb to this? No, it's not. And I don't want it to be normal for my kids anymore, for it to be just another scene that they have seen before. The fight started a long time ago. As an African, as a Black male from Benin where slavery was at its peak, I've gotta do my part. Even though I started this fight a long time ago, I've gotta do more and I'm going to do more," he said.
"At some point, what are you going to do about it? You get to a point where now I'm 33 years old and I have three girls and I'm looking at myself in the mirror and I'm like, man, if this doesn't start with me, my kids are going to say the same [thing]. Enough is enough."
Mahinmi's thoughts were one of many powerful moments during the 'Race in America' conversation. You can watch the full panel right here:
To watch the full roundtable discussion, featuring Ian Mahinmi, Washington Mystics star Natasha Cloud, and Maryland football head coach Mike Locksley, click here.
- Natasha Cloud: On being pulled over by the police
- Mike Locksley: Race relations lessons in the locker room
- Sitting out: Why Natasha Cloud will forego the 2020 WNBA season