Charles Barkley is trying his best to be the next Jason Whitlock — the overweight and jovial Black man with a larger-than-life personality, whom you can always count on to say something to make white Americans feel good about themselves while demonizing and belittling his own people.
There are words to describe people like that. But this isn’t the appropriate medium for them.
Watch this clip from Saturday, and you’ll see how Barkley puts the burden of racism on elected officials as if racism weren’t around before the Democratic or Republican parties were created.
It’s almost like Robert Aaron Long didn’t kill Asians at a massage parlor less than five miles from where Barkley works last month just because he doesn’t like them. Maybe we should ignore the 70 million-plus people that voted for a racist in our last presidential election. Because at this point, to Barkley, what happened on Wednesday, January 6, had nothing to do with racism, the electoral college was to blame. If Barkley read books he would know that racism has always been the architect of America’s voting systems. As the state of Georgia, the place where Barkley works and America’s leader of voter suppression, just made it even harder for Black people to vote.
Let me be clear. Nothing about what Barkley continues to do on TV is cute or charming. Because for every one of those heartfelt stories you hear about him being kind, picking up a check, or donating money, they lose value every time he gets in front of a microphone and says something this absurd. This is how harmful and false narratives get created and enabled, which leads to “fake news.”
In January, Barkley said that pro athletes should skip the line for the covid vaccines all because they pay more in taxes.
“Three hundred million shots, give a thousand to some NBA players, NFL players, hockey players,” Barkley said on Inside the NBA. “Listen, as much taxes as these players pay — let me repeat that — as much taxes as these players pay, they deserve some preferential treatment.”
Last September, Barkley disrespected Black women — again — as he discussed how he believes that you can’t categorize Breonna Taylor’s case with George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, which is strange since racist white men were the culprits in each scenario.
The situation was reminiscent of how in 2019, Barkley told former Axios reporter Alexi McCammond, “I don’t hit women, but if I did, I would hit you.” And in 2017, Barkley was speaking on a panel at the National Association of Black Journalists Conference in New Orleans when he told a room full of Black women that they shouldn’t report sexual harassment/assault until they’re in power positions at the workplace.
This is who Barkley has always been. He even thinks it’s Black America’s job to fix our relationship with law enforcement.
“We’ve got to work out our relationships with the cops,” he said in 2017. “We don’t want young black men killed by the cops. But also, we’ve got to take some personal responsibility with all the black-on-black crime going on in our own community. The cops come in there. When they make mistakes, we need to hold them accountable. But also, we’ve got to understand (police) come in there. They’re nervous. They’re hyper. They’re gonna make some mistakes. That doesn’t excuse it, but we gotta take some personal responsibility.”
The best sports show in the history of TV features one of the greatest basketball players of all time who has a likeability factor that is second to none. Unfortunately, Charles Barkley also serves as a white apologist, which is a detriment to all Americans — no matter their race or political party.