In Defense of Charles Barkley


Sometimes you need some comedy to put perspective on comments. You know who you are. Let’s get into the topic.

In Defense of Charles Barkley

I'm not the only one who has to put the black hat on from time to time.
I’m not the only one who has to put the black hat on from time to time.

As I tell my white friends, we as black people, we’re never going to be successful, not because of you white people, but because of other black people. When you’re black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from other black people. It’s a—It’s a dirty, dark secret; I’m glad it’s coming out. It comes out every few years. I wrote a big chapter in my book about it, to be honest with you.

I said, you know, when young black kids, you know, when they do well in school, the loser kids tell them, ‘Oh, you’re acting white.’ The kids who speak intelligently. They tell them, ‘You’re acting white.’ So it’s a dirty, dark secret in the black community.

One of the reasons we’re never going to be successful as a whole, because of other black people. And for some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not black enough. If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent, and don’t break the law, you’re not a good black person. And it’s a dirty, dark secret, Anthony.

Most, I—I heard Stephen A. [Smith] talkin about it. And listen, I hate to bring white people into our crap, but as a black person, we all go through it when you’re successful. Uh, you know it’s like one of the reasons, you know. One of the reasons a lot of black players go broke is because when you’re successful your friends say to you, ‘Oh, you ain’t cool. You ain’t down with us anymore.’ And you end up giving up all your money to these damn losers, and you end up broke again.

But it’s a dirty, dark secret in the black community. There are a lot of black people who are unintelligent, who don’t have, uh, success. It’s best to knock a successful black person down because they’re intelligent, they speak well, they do well in school, and they’re successful. And they don’t..if you think about it—It’s crabs in a barrel. The thing that’s happening we’re the only race that tell people if you don’t have street cred, with like, that means you been arrested, like, like that’s a compliment. We’re the only ethnic group who say, ‘Hey, if you go to jail, it gives you street cred.’ It’s just typical BS that goes on when you’re black, man.

– Charles Barkley on 94 WIP’s online Podcast from October 23rd titled: Charles Barkley Talks About Anything & Everything (here). Starting at 14minutes 52 seconds.

For some rather strange reason these comments have been met with criticism and controversy instead of being taken for exactly what they are. Direct and blunt truth. But in order to properly cover this I’m going to break it into parts so you can better understand what is going on. First up is the idea of the comments being incorrect, then we’ll talk about the attacks on them being said, and finally a little bit of perspective. I’m feeling hopeful.

Charles Barkley isn’t wrong

The idea that Barkey is incorrect is in fact laughable. And it has nothing to do with his hilarious version of a southern accent. When you look at the external pressures on Black America it is easy to miss the internal pressures that we place on ourselves. Looking at pure numbers, despite the clear uptick in college enrollment by black males; the disparity between those choosing post secondary education without sports involvement and those immediately entering the workforce is still far higher than at any point for their female counterparts.

Now you may say but that isn’t bad everyone doesn’t need to go to college, or maybe they cannot afford higher education. I would listen to these arguments but given the cost difference and enrollment figures at HBCUs that point is moot. The reality is you can still get a quality education as a black student in many places in the country but for some reason that is not being taken advantage of. I didn’t go to an HBCU for a lot of reasons, some of which I think differently about now, but ultimately would not have changed my position on it. But I had a lot more opportunity that most. These are not bad schools. The fact they are closing like blockbuster videos is a sad fact when there are enough kids to have gone there just not using college as an option.

The Lantern posted a piece about a poll from Gallup about the financial aid crisis in communities of color versus their white counterparts. It includes this graph which is extremely telling when you think about the cost to attend them as well as average starting salary for their graduates.

And don’t worry Here’s a link to the top ten and their average salary for grads versus tuition per year. On average as of 2009 there was a six thousand dollar ($6,000USD) difference in cost to attend HBCUs. And who’s not up for saving money? But, as you think back to what this section is about, why does this help prove Charles isn’t wrong? Because it shows there is clearly something peculiar going on that is keeping black kids from going to these schools. Many HBCUs have been forced to cut back on programs offered as well as many closing altogether. Why? Because it isn’t a priority to take advantage of this resource. Why? Because we aren’t opening the doors for the generation after us anymore.

Look at how we value young black boys who have gotten into every Ivy league school and have to choose which ones to turn down. We let our kids get on social media to call them oreos, say that’s for white folks, and decry them as nerds. Well to all of that particular group of idiots, You may now exit the country. Your services are no longer required. But less go deeper. What about all the people who under the guise of being pro black have said these boys should not go to learn things from the white man, and that they are somehow in a slave mentality. What this hotep hoes and pro-black pimps want you to you believe is that academic achievement under a system that has historically been filled with white faces is something to stay away from. Now here’s the dirty secret of that mentality. It relies on you not noticing how little value they place on the education from black schools.

I don’t hear Tariq Nasheed trying to get every black boy into Morehouse. In fact more than once he’s implied all men who went there are gay. But bigger than that where’s his school he’s supporting? And before you idiots come back with “Higher education is just the creation of euro-centric mentalities and furthers a euro-centric viewpoint on all important studies.” Put the bean pie down beloved, you’re idiocy is showing. Every society that can be considered objectively civilized has made a point to create a system of schools devoted to academics, the Kemetian dynasties, the Greeks the Romans, the Persians, the Chinese, the Japanese, Mali and Songhai, Carthage, Sicily, and yes every modern nation currently on the planet.

But lets get into the high schools. How much money did your high school debate team have available for national tournaments? How about for high school mock trial? How many announcements did you hear about school plays? How many people did interpretations for talents instead of sing, rap, or dance? Who was you StuCo President? Chess Champion?  Now some of you readers can answer that. Most folks can’t. But you and the community remember the cheerleading captain, dance team members, the sports folks, who made that one song that everybody knew, who made it in every industry but academics. Now that isn’t to say some of you know more of the first groups and less of the second, but that isn’t the balance of this ethnic classification we call a community. And that’s why Charles isn’t wrong. Because even you have trouble remembering those things. Now imagine how it felt for those kids. Now imagine how it felt for the ones who didn’t want to be seen as one of them, but had the intellect.


Your attacks show how stupid you are

One of the first things I heard as a criticism of Barkley was the notion that he shouldn’t say this publicly. And to those idiots I have a wonderful new energy drink call Ricin “SOO much energy you’ll be dying for more.” This idea that anyone making public comments on an issue is somehow uncouth harkens back to something apparently still ingrained in this community. But really needs to be gotten rid of along with that stupid Light skinned, Dark skinned, mixed bullshit. There are problems in modern society and there is a dearth of access to important information. To say someone shouldn’t speak up on these problems because people not of our ethnic classification might hear is stupid. When there is a problem you talk about it. You aren’t fixing it by acting like there is nothing wrong.

The other major attack I hear is that he doesn’t deserve to talk about it because he made it. ANd if that isn’t just obviously stupid I don’t really know what is. Barkley made it doing something that less than 2% of human beings do. The reality is even in the black community in America where the sport is that is closer to 1%. Who better to tell you that the focus should be on making it in ways that don’t require genetics you have no control over? The idea of focusing on making it through science, technology, engineering, and math may seem boring, but it will save your life. And it will make it possible to do something about the conditions we hear over and over about and how tired you are of them.


A bit of hope in the form of Perspective

In America today there is a growing trend of people overpaying for conveniences that let them be lazy. And from comedians to politicians everyone has something to say about it. We have a country where Bill Cosby hides possible sexual assault cases, and the comedian who calls him out on it is the story. We have terrorist groups trying to found their own countries. We have TLC reality stars dating men with child molestation convictions when their daughter’s are in little girl beauty pageants. The whole planet knows about this and wants to correct these things because people speak up. The world is safer when you speak up. The world evolves when you put more focus on things that can make everyone’s life better. Charles Barkley isn’t the enemy. blissful ignorance, stupidity, and idiocy are. I could say more but…WORDS DON’T DO IT JUSTICE!


– THE Ruthless Wonder


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