Was Shaquille O’Neal Guilty of Racial Stereotyping?

Shaquille O’Neal claimed that black people don’t drink coffee and he was wrong. Does that mean he was prejudiced?

Shaquille O’Neal has made a lot of income from his past glories on the basketball court. But he passed up one deal because he thought he could generalize about black people from his own experience. Fox News reports,

Sports reporter Graham Bensinger sat down with O’Neal in a recent interview to discuss his various businesses ventures. During the segment for “In Depth with Graham Bensinger,” he asks the retired NBA All-Star one of his biggest business regrets and without hesitation, O’Neal talked about why he declined to work with Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz.

“So my agent called me up and he says ‘Howard Schultz wants to do business with you,’” O’Neal explains. “And I’m like ‘coffee, eh,’ because growing up, in my household, I’d never seen a black person drink coffee. So it was my thought process that black people didn’t drink coffee.

Shaking his head and laughing, O’Neal says that his family mostly drank sweet tea and hot chocolate for a caffeine fix.  But Schulz still offered him the opportunity to open to Starbucks franchises in predominantly African-American communities. But at the time O’Neal said he didn’t believe in it and, as a principle, only invested in things he believed in.

“So I looked at the great Howard Schultz’s face and said ‘Black people don’t drink coffee sir I don’t think it’s gonna work.’ And you should have seen the look on his face,” O’Neal said. But that decision ended up being a costly one for the former pro.

Here’s my point: Shaquille O’Neal plainly extrapolated from a limited experience with black people into a false, generalized racial stereotype. So why isn’t he being condemned for it?

What if Howard Schulz had “deferred to the experience of a person of color,” like Liberals claim we are supposed to do, and repeated O’Neal’s opinion as a reliable fact?

He would have been called a racist for pushing a false racial stereotype!

Do you think maybe our society is just a bit too wound up about race issues and lacks any kind of common sense in how we evaluate people for holding mistaken opinions?