Bryant Gumbel Gives Powerful Commentary on the 'Black Tax,' the 'Added Burden' of Being Black

Bryant Gumbel reports on his experience as a black man in America.
In the special edition of HBO's Real Sports on Tuesday, which examined how systemic racial injustice and the continuing coronavirus pandemic affected sport, the 71-year-old host closed the segment in which the plight of blacks by the term "Black tax" was declared.
"It is not an IRS thing. It is the added burden of being black in America," said Gumbel. "And it is paid routinely, no matter how much education you have, how much money you make, or how much success you have earned."
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The Sportcaster further said that "Black Tax" is more than just the extra looks, whispers and suspicions when you're on the go ... it's about the many cases of disrespect and inconsistency that your color appears to create It is expected that you somehow always hold back so that you are not what white Americans should never be, a merit of your race. "
Gumbel noted that the experience implies that one does not receive the same privileges as other races and is not treated equally in the eyes of the law.
"It's about living a life in which your father has to leave home to study law, even though he was an honorary student and an excellent war veteran," he continued. "It's about your son being arrested for doing nothing other than walking while he's black. It's about worrying more about your grandchildren's safety than your white friends and coworkers have to."
Marc Bryan-Brown / Getty Bryant Gumbel
"It's about the daily tiredness of unsuspectingly explaining the obvious. It's about being asked to overlook blue and white bugs so that they can be conveniently seen as black problems," continued Gumbel. "It's about being asked by so many what to do or say about races when the simple answer is in the privacy of every person's heart. It's the 'black tax' ... it is used by me and every day paid to every colored person in this country and frankly it's tiring. "
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Gumbel concluded his powerful comment with the confirmation that he has been paying the "black tax" for almost 72 years.
"Long enough that I shouldn't ask others to just accept a very basic reality ... that our black lives matter," he said.
Gumbel was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and was a co-host of NBCs Today from 1982 to 1997. He has hosted Real Sports since 1995.
To combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
Campaign Zero ( that ends police brutality in America through research-proven strategies. is working to make the government respond better to racial differences.
The National Cares Mentoring Movement ( provides social and academic support to help black teenagers succeed in college and beyond.

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