Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott on race: 'Being mixed allows me to connect with everyone'

Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott has been an instant success in the NFL, leading the Dallas Cowboys to a 13-3 record and the top playoff seed in the NFC.

He attributes at least some of that to his ability to relate to pretty much everyone on the team. And he attributes that to his background — and not just all those psychology classes he took at Mississippi State or the mostly-online master’s degree he earned in workforce leadership.

“I grew up in Haughton, La.,” Prescott told USA Today. “I go to my white grandparents’ house, and then I cross the railroad tracks and hang out with my black grandma. We have English teachers on my white side. My grandpa is a principal. And then you go to the other side and people have been in jail.

“I was put in all those different situations. I’ve been in situations where I was the only black guy. We’re in a time now where nobody wants to see that. But it still happens. Depending on where you come from, it happens. To be able to wipe that clean and see and live both sides, it’s just who I am. Being mixed allows me to connect with everyone.”

From the beginning with the Cowboys, Prescott’s wide-ranging background was evident in his personality. The USA Today profile describes an off-season practice during which the newcomer rapped along to every word of a Wiz Khalifa hip-hop song, then belted out the chorus to a George Strait country song.

“People who were raised in an all-white town, it’s hard for them to relate to black people or other cultures,” said Cowboys safety Jameill Showers, who also is multiracial. “That’s why you can sometimes see divides in locker rooms. Dak gets a feel for both sides to know what he can and can’t relate to — what is and isn’t offensive.”

Prescott said: “Being biracial and being from the country, I can talk to guys like Travis Frederick from Wisconsin and Doug Free from Wisconsin. And then I can go over and talk to Dez Bryant [a Texas native]. I mean, think about the two different standpoints you need to have a real conversation with both, to really understand what they’ve been through.

“I don’t think many can do it. For me, it’s not hard. I’m blessed because it’s natural.”

charles.schilken@latimes.com

Twitter: @chewkiii

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