Dear Sir Charles,
Throughout your playing career and on through your post playing days into your second career as an NBA analyst you’ve always used your position in the media spot light to say what others were thinking but afraid to say (for better and worse). That’s one of the attributes that I and many others have always enjoyed about you and moreover one of the main reasons why you’re employed to opine in the first place. Being an outspoken person myself I find it hard not to appreciate those who have the testicular fortitude to wade into topical conversations that border the taboo. Your latest foray into controversial waters however leaves a whole lot to be desired. You were posited a question about what you thought of the UNSUBSTANTIATED reports out of the Seattle Seahawks locker room that Russell Wilson was not considered black enough by some of his teammates. Your retort to the rather loaded question was the greatest gift to Merica and the Tea Party Patriots that want their “country back” since their lord and Savior Ronald Reagan ruled the world…
“Unfortunately, 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 dirty, dark secret; I’m glad it’s coming out. It comes out every few years. I wrote a big chapter it in my book about it to be honest with you. I said that when young black kids when they do well in school the losers kids say ‘oh you’re acting white’ the kids who speak intelligently they tell them that they are acting white. So it’s a dirty dark secret in the black community–one of the reasons why we are never going to be successful as a whole is because of other black people and for some reason We are brainwashed to think that 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. It’s a dirty dark secret Anthony. I heard Stephen A talking about it. It ah um(inaudible jive) I hate to bring white people into our crap but as a black person we all go through it when you’re successful. One of the reasons a lot of black players go broke is because when you’re successful your friends say “oh you ain’t cool’ or ‘you ain’t down no more’ then you end up giving all your money to these damn losers and going broke again. But it’s a dirty dark secret in the black community that a lot of black people who are unintelligent who don’t have success is best to knock successful black person down with their intelligence they speak well they do well school and they are successful uh I mean think about it… its crabs in the barrel. I mean we’re the only race that tells people if you don’t have street cred, that means that been arrested. Like that’s a compliment. We are the only ethnic group that says ‘hey if you go to jail that give you street cred’ that’s the typical bs that goes on when you’re black man. Don’t waste a lot of time on it please because it’s just so um (inaudible)- Russell Wilson has a-Uh I don’t know Russell Wilson , I met him and said hello but just because he studies the play book all the time and does not go out clubbing and things like that I guess some of the other players–(more inaudible jibber jive)you see what happened with Percy Harvin they wanted him to do crazy things but he did not want to do them ~Charles Barkley
I’m not sure if it’s because you were once my favorite player or if I feel bad about the fact that your subjects and verbs remain in perpetual fight mode every time you open your mouth, But I feel an extra level of patience with you and your latest respectable negro diatribe. So much so that I’m writing this open scribe with the hope that you might read it and learn a thing or two about black people since you are obviously disconnected. Due to the non-nuanced highly conflated and context-less nature of your soliloquy it’s almost impossible to do a point by point repudiation so I’m just going to leave a few points for you to ponder based on some of what you mumbled during your radio interview on Afternoons with Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis.
Points to ponder
1.”Unfortunately, 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 dirty, dark secret; I’m glad it’s coming out. It comes out every few years” ~ CB
First and foremost unintelligent whites have done far more damage to the black family’s plight (and their own)than unintelligent blacks ever could. It was unintelligent whites that championed, voted to keep and even fought and died to preserve the system of chattel slavery. This is despite the fact that free slave labor meant less jobs for them and all but eliminated them as competition for the plantation owning elites within their agrarian industry. It’s unintelligent whites who have voted to keep segregation and disenfranchisement of blacks in place, unintelligent whites are the ones that voted for all of these wars that we are still in the midst of–even though it would be them and their progeny dying and not the “intelligent white men” that ordered these wars. It was unintelligent whites that voted for Bush and Cheney despite their looting of the national treasury. Unintelligent whites knew that Dick Cheney left the CEO’s seat at Halliburton to become the Vice President of the United States but those same unintelligent white folks never questioned the no bid tax payer funded contracts in the billions and those same unintelligent white men not even ten years later have zero recollection of their culpability when discussing the trillions in debt that their guys dug this country in. And just like yourself those unintelligent white folks are blaming the black guy and the minority black population that supports him.
2. “I wrote a big chapter it in my book about it to be honest with you. I said that when young black kids when they do well in school the losers kids say ‘oh you’re acting white’ the kids who speak intelligently they tell them that they are acting white”~ CB
WTF is a big chapter in the first place? Did you mean to say a fairly large chapter? Second of all why would you dedicate such a “big chapter” of your book to such an outdated and debunked stereotype? Ever since I was in grade school being dumb or being in special ed was never a cool thing. I also find it funny that you would broach the topic of speaking improper English–have you ever heard yourself speak? You have the diction of a run away slave and you are talking about blacks berating other blacks and calling them white just because they know how to speak? C’mon Chuck! You coined the word “Turrable” dude– you should have known better than to go there.
3.”It’s crabs in the barrel. I mean we’re the only race that tells people if you don’t have street cred, that means that been arrested. Like that’s a compliment. We are the only ethnic group that says ‘hey if you go to jail that give you street cred’ that’s the typical bs that goes on when you’re black man.”~CB
Were we crabs in the barrel when we were paying $120 for your CB34 Nike basketball shoes? Were we crabs in a barrel when we bought your jersey and the myriad other products that you were hired to be the pitch man for? Speaking of crabs in a barrel did it ever dawn on you that a barrel is not necessarily a crabs natural habitat or environment? Crabs in a barrel are essentially headed for slaughter–how are they supposed to act? By likening black people to crabs in a barrel you are acknowledging the precarious position that black people are in while at the same time blaming them for the actions of those that are oppressing them or sending them to slaughter. Also when you threw that 5 foot 2, 110 pound man through a plate glass window and resisted arrest way back in 1997, were you trying to get your street cred up or nah? How about the time you got that DUI charge 2008–you know the one where you told the arresting officer “You want the truth?..I was gonna drive around the corner and get a blow job”.
4. “Don’t waste a lot of time on it please because it’s just so um (inaudible)- Russell Wilson has a-Uh I don’t know Russell Wilson , I met him and said hello but just because he studies the play book all the time and does not go out clubbing and things like that I guess some of the other players–(more inaudible jibber jive)you see what happened with Percy Harvin they wanted him to do crazy things but he did not want to do them”~CB
This last part makes your cringe worthy rant all the more dubious. You don’t know Russell Wilson, you never said more than hello to the guy, these unsubstantiated reports come out and you take the rumor and run with it. You have zero insight into what’s going on in the Seattle Seahawk locker room. Your dearth of knowledge as it pertains to the black community is even greater. The more that I think about it I I’m inclined to believe that with your knowledge and consent Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis purposely and specifically sought you out to convey this kind misguided missive to their mostly white audience to assuage and placate their guilt so they could comfortably embrace the faux post-racial times that we live in. I can understand this sort of House Nigger behavior coming from the nominally talented black folks like Stephen A Smith and Don Lemon but you are part of the 1 percent. And by 1 percent I am not referring to your bank account. I’m referring to the god given athletic prowess that enabled you to be the success story that you are. You should not have to stoop to such great levels to curry favor with white America. You’re a hall of famer for Christ Sake stop acting like Felicia and channel your inner Bill Russell.
10 thoughts on “Decoding Sir Charles: An Open Letter to Charles Barkley”
Testicular fortitude!!! Love it!! Bravo!!!!
Haha. You love it because you don’t lack it. At least the female equivilent of.
excellent points! I think I understand what sir Charles is attempting to say, however I believe he like so many other take the easy way out with surface level analysis!
I too see what he said. What he did not see however was the fact that he was being goaded into expressing that exact sentiment and he managed not only to fall for the bait but he over delivered in a major way. That was a reckless and irresponsible retort.
You do have to put up with a lot of crap with some other black people. It’s funny, more than once I had a black female supervisor and the 1st thing both times they start saying is how the female coworker is better, even before I start working.
And I had to put up with plenty of dishonest and shitty white co-workers ans bosses. What’s YOUR point? Being an asshole is not intrinsic to black culture anymore than it is for white culture.
Of course we’d prefer a more eloquent messenger than Barkley, but the fact remains there is a markedly anti-intellectual bent in the black community especially among young black males. It just is not hip or cool to be smart. It was like that in my neighbor 40 years ago and it’s even more true today. 75% of black male 8th graders are illiterate.
There isn’t now, nor has there ever bee an anti-intellectual bent in the black community. On the contrary there’s a history African-Americans risking life, limb and liberty for the right for equal footing by way of education. From slaves trying to read to Brown vs The Board of Ed our legacy in the area of thirst for knowledge is etched in stone. Only the anti-intellectual who prefers the more dubious and visceral view of history believes such a thing.
Those stats that you present are not endemic to black culture. They are endemic to a culture of generational poverty. A culture of neglect and abuse. It’s intellectually dishonest to make anti-intellectualism out to be a black thing. It’s much closer to a white thing. A right wing white thing to be exact. They’re the ones denying science and even documented history. The man that denies empirical fact is for more anti-intellectual than the man too ignorant to know fact from fiction.
Love your work. The insight on chattel slavery as it related to whites employment prospects was fresh and new…I’d never thought about that before.