Bryant Gumbel closes HBO ‘Real Sports’ episode with commentary on the ‘Black Tax’

HBO’s newest “Real Sports” episode focused on how sports are responding to the dual crises of racial injustice and COVID-19 in America. Host Bryant Gumbel “listened” to a cross-section of sports figures as he interviewed them for the segment.

Little of what was said was new or controversial to those who have been following along. From the trailer for Tuesday’s premiere:

In fact, Gumbel’s closing commentary may have resonated the most. He spoke about what he and friends call “The Black Tax.”

“It’s not an IRS thing. It’s the added burden that comes with being Black in America, and it’s routinely paid, no matter how much education you have, how much money you make or how much success you’ve earned,” he said.

“The Black Tax is about more than just the added stares, whispers and suspicions when you’re out and about,” he added. “It’s about the many instances of disrespect and incivility your color seems to engender, and being expected to somehow always restrain yourself, lest you not be what white Americans are never asked to be: a credit to your race.”

Gumbel spoke about how racism has affected generations of his family, and how it’s tiring having to instruct people who don’t get what’s going on in the Black community

Then he closed with this:

“It’s the Black Tax. It’s paid daily by me and every person of color in this country and, frankly, it is exhausting. I’ve been paying the Black Tax in America for almost 72 years now, long enough that I shouldn’t have to ask others to simply accept one very basic reality: that our Black lives matter.”

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