Spurs coach Popovich mounts a simple, strong defense of Black History Month.

You can always count on Pop to say what he's thinking.

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has a bit of a reputation for speaking his mind.

Back in May 2017, Popovich denounced the self-centered "game show" atmosphere brought on by Donald Trump's presidency.

In September, he went on a bit of a press conference rant about Trump's "childishness" and "gratuitous fear-mongering," eventually launching into a pretty epic speech about why it's important for him to use his platform to speak out on important issues like racism, even if they don't affect him personally. (He's white.)


The Spurs' Dejounte Murray talks to head coach Gregg Popovich during a 2017 game. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that when Popovich was asked about the NBA's Black History Month celebrations, his answer would be worth a listen — even if it's a bit hard for white people to hear.

Asked by reporters why he felt it was important for the NBA to honor and promote Black History Month, he basically said that it's a no-brainer:

"I think it's pretty obvious. The league is made up of a lot of black guys. To honor [Black History Month] and understand it is pretty simplistic. How would you ignore that? But more importantly, we live in a racist country that hasn't figured it out yet. And it's always important to bring attention to it, even if it angers some people. The point is that you have to keep it in front of everybody's nose so that they understand it, that it still hasn't been taken care of, and we have a lot of work to do."

It's easy to pretend that racism is a thing of the past, but that's simply not true.

It's pretty easy to get defensive when Popovich and many others say things like, "We live in a racist country that hasn't figured it out yet." After all, nobody wants to be called racist, and nobody wants to think that they play a role in perpetuating discrimination.

Considering what some on social media are saying in response to Popovich's latest comments, that defensive instinct comes through loud and clear.

"If this country is Racist [sic] then why are we celebrating Black History Month?" asked one Twitter user. "Pop is an idiot...why doesn't he resign and give his job to a black coach if he feels he's part of the problem?" tweeted another. "What are we celebrating? Why do we single out a month for blacks? Can we have white history month?" asked a third.

"We live in a racist country that hasn't figured it out yet."

It's indisputable that racism against black individuals and other people of color is real. There is ample data confirming the inequality and negative treatment aimed at black Americans.

For example, an October 2017 survey found that on average, prosecutors offered white defendants more lenient plea deals than their black counterparts. Experiments in so-called blind auditions and job applications, as well as a look at how doctors treat people of color compared to white people, demonstrate the existence of unconscious bias.

Popovich and the Spurs attend the White House to celebrate their 2014 NBA championship. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.

We are a racist country with a racist history. No, that doesn't necessarily make you a racist. It just means we have a lot of work left to do.

Just as Popovich said, if we really want to live in a more just world, we've got to keep this issue at the forefront of our minds.

Black History Month is a great opportunity to think about the many ways black Americans have shaped our country for the better in the face of crushing oppression. It's in acknowledging both the good and the bad that we can help build a a country that lives up to the lofty ideals lauded by many self-proclaimed "patriots."

Patriotism isn't about ignoring a country's faults, but about living each day to address them.

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Women around the world are constantly bombarded by traditional and outdated societal expectations when it comes to how they live their lives: meet a man, get married, buy a home, have kids.

Many of these pressures often come from within their own families and friend circles, which can be a source of tension and disconnect in their lives.

Global skincare brand SK-II created a new campaign exploring these expectations from the perspective of four women in four different countries whose timelines vary dramatically from what their mothers, grandmothers, or close friends envision for them.

SK-II had Katie Couric meet with these women and their loved ones to discuss the evolving and controversial topic of marriage pressure and societal expectations.

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"What happens when dreams clash with expectations? We're all supposed to hit certain milestones: a degree, marriage, a family," Couric said before diving into conversation with the "young women who are defining their own lives while navigating the expectations of the ones who love them most."

Maluca, a musician in New York, explains that she comes from an immigrant family, which comes with the expectation that she should live the "American Dream."

"You come here, go to school, you get married, buy a house, have kids," she said.

Her mother, who herself achieved the "American Dream" with hard work and dedication when she came to the United States, wants to see her daughter living a stable life.

"I'd love for her to be married and I'd love her to have a big wedding," she said.

Chun Xia, an award-winning Chinese actress who's outspoken about empowering other young women in China, said people question her marital status regularly.

"I'm always asked, 'Don't you want to get married? Don't you want to start a family and have kids like you should at your age?' But the truth is I really don't want to at this point. I am not ready yet," she said.

In South Korea, Nara, a queer-identifying artist, believes her generation should have a choice in everything they do, but her mother has a different plan in mind.

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"I just thought she would have a job and meet a man to get married in her early 30s," Nara's mom said.

But Nara hopes she can one day marry her girlfriend, even though it's currently illegal in her country.

Her mother, however, still envisions a different life for her daughter. "Deep in my heart, I hope she will change her mind one day," she said.

Maina, a 27-year-old Japanese woman, explains that in her home country, those who aren't married by the time they're 25 to 30, are often referred to as "unsold goods."

Her mom is worried about her daughter not being able to find a boyfriend because she isn't "conventional."

"I really want her to find the right man and get married, to be seen as marriage material," she said.

After interviewing the women and their families, Couric helped them explore a visual representation of their timelines, which showcased the paths each woman sees her life going in contrast with what her relatives envision.

SK-II

"For each young woman, two timelines were created. One represents the expectations. The other, their aspirations," Couric explained. "There's often a disconnect between dreams and expectations. But could seeing the difference lead to greater understanding?"

The women all explored their timelines, which included milestones like having "cute babies," going back to school, not being limited by age, and pursuing dreams.

By seeing their differences side-by-side, the women and their families were able to partake in more open dialogue regarding the expectations they each held.

One of the women's mom's realized her daughter was lucky to be born during a time when she has the freedom to make non-traditional choices.

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"It looks like she was born in the right time to be free and confident in what she wants to do," she said.

"There's a new generation of women writing their own rules, saying, 'we want to do things our way,' and that can be hard," Couric explained.

The video ends with the tagline: "Forge your own path and choose the life you want; Draw your own timeline."

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