We knew that Charles Barkley's Big! Opinions! had crossed him over from the sports world, but we had no idea it had gone this far: He's now getting the Serious Guy Treatment from The New Republic, of all places.
In a wide-ranging interview with the magazine once called "the in-flight reading of Air Force One" — a fact we seriously doubt is true anymore — Barkley does what he does best: Expound and orate like crazy. Here's an excerpt (ordinarily you have to be a subscriber to the magazine, which inevitably shows up two weeks late anyway, but this one's free):
Question: In some quarters Barack [Obama] has been criticized for not being black enough.
Well, that's because black people are fucked up. One of the reasons that black people are not going to be successful is because of other black people. We tell black kids that if they make good grades, they are acting white. If they speak well, we tell them that they are acting white. We have a lot of demons in our own closet—in our own family—that we have to address. But first of all, we want black men to be intelligent and articulate and things like that. That's not acting white. That's the way it should be. ... We become our own worst enemy with random black-on-black crime, teen pregnancy, single-parent homes. You know we cannot blaming white America for our ills. Does racism exist? Of course it does. But, at some point, I have to make sure I am educated. I don't have ten kids and no job. I am not killing other black people. At some point, you have to grow up.
We seriously think Barkley and Jason Whitlock should probably just have their own radio show together, at this point.
Beyond Basketball: Race, Class, And Politics [The New Republic]