8 Times Charles Barkley Showed He’s The Worst Choice To Talk About Race

Charles_Barkley_2008Charles Barkley should not have a show talking about anything. Race is probably the worst thing though.

It’s almost become a running joke at this point. Some news story with a clear racial component captures the attention of the American public. Thought leaders and pundits discuss how this one case is reflective of larger issues in America. And then, without anyone really wanting to hear his thoughts, Charles Barkley makes a statement that is either a) insensitive; b) idiotic; or c) offensive. And when he’s really on his game, it’s all three.

Somehow, that track record was compelling enough to garner him the host spot on a new TNT series titled The Race Card.

Decrying partisan politics and entrenched corporate interests, the show aims to “bust up the echo-chamber mentality,” each week taking a look at the hardened positions around the day’s hot-button issues, with an emphasis on America’s racial divide. Barkley will tap varied points of view from tastemakers and cultural leaders, with the intent being to challenge and test deeply held beliefs taken as fact, with Barkley even trying the positions on himself before reaching his own conclusions.

Sounds like a crock of shit to me too.

In my befuddlement over the decision to put him in a position he is uniquely unfit for, I put together a list of 8 times he showed he is the absolute worst person to be chosen for this role.

1. On Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling:

“The problem I have with [it], if somebody wants to be racist, that’s all right. That’s their thing. But when you’re in a position of power and you can take jobs and economic opportunities from people, that’s what crosses the line.”

Apparently, Barkley is cool with racists, just as long as they don’t exert any of their power.

2. On the N-word:

“I’m a black man. I use the N-word. I’m going to continue to use the N-word with my black friends, with my white friends, they are my friends. In the locker room and when I’m with my friends, we use racial slurs. … What I do with my black friends is not up to white America to dictate to me, what’s appropriate and inappropriate.”

The n-word is always surrounded by controversy. But Charles Barkley skips right over all of that and approves of all racial slurs.

3. On Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman:

“Something clearly went wrong that night. Clearly, something went wrong and I feel bad for anybody that loses a kid. But if you look at the case, and you don’t make it…there was some racial profiling, no question about it. Something happened to change the dynamic of that night. And that’s probably not a popular opinion among most people but just looking at the evidence, I agreed with the verdict.”

This tragic story and heartbreaking trial was the lightning rod that sparked the #BlackLivesMatter movement. But with his nonexistent knowledge of the law, Barkley knew that Zimmerman was definitely an innocent man.

4. On Adrian Peterson and Child Abuse

“I think the question about did Adrian Peterson go overboard, but listen, Jim, we all grew up in different circumstances. Every black parent in my neighborhood in the South would be in trouble or in jail under those circumstances.”

As a father of 3, the child abuse indictments brought against NFL player Adrian Peterson were shocking and infuriating. How could a parent be so cruel to a child? Well, if you listened to Charles Barkley, abuse like that is commonplace amongst black parents. So that makes it okay right?

5. On the death of Eric Garner:

“When the cops are trying to arrest you, if you fight back, things go wrong. I don’t think they were trying to kill Mr. Garner. He was a big man and they tried to get him down.”

Remember Eric Garner crying “I can’t breathe?” Apparently, that qualifies as fighting back against the police.

6. On Michael Brown’s murder:

“We as black people, we have a lot of crooks. We can’t just wait until something like (the Brown shooting) happens. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror. There is a reason that they racially profile us in the way they do. Sometimes it is wrong, and sometimes it is right.”

In one of my favorites from Mr. Barkley, he signs off on racial profiling because black folk tend to be “crooks.”

7. On Blacks as “Crabs in a Barrel”:

“There are a lot of black people who are unintelligent, who don’t have success,” Barkley said. “It’s best to knock a successful black person down ’cause they’re intelligent, they speak well, they do well in school, and they’re successful. It’s crabs in a barrel. … We’re the only ethnic group that says, ‘hey, if you go to jail, it gives you street cred.’ “

There’s brushing off the haters, and then there is denigrating an entire race of people. Guess which one Barkley is best at?

8. On politics:

“I don’t get caught up in the Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal BS, as I call it. I look at it like this. It’s rich people vs. poor people, and right now poor people are getting screwed and I feel bad for those people, plain and simple.”

And if you forgot, Charles Barkley is very, very rich. Too bad for you that you’re not.


Photo credit: adapted from Flikr user carolinarob7

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Daren W. Jackson

Daren is one half of the Water Cooler Convos team. He's a writer, music connoisseur, and comic book geek who spends his free time working on his novel and other short stories.