What Charles Barkley said was not only non-racist, but much of it applied to Whites as well as Blacks.
Here’s the report from the Alabama news site, Al.com: “‘Unintelligent’ blacks ‘brainwashed’ to choose street cred over success: Charles Barkley.”
Speaking on the radio show “Afternoons with Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis,” Barkley was asked his opinion on Seattle Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson, who was the subject of an article detailing allegations he wasn’t “black enough.”
Barkley fired back:
“We as black people are never going to be successful, not because of you white people, but because of other black people. When you are black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from other black people,” Barkley said.
Barkley, a native of Leeds, said African Americans are too concerned with street cred than true success and that’s holding the community back.
“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. It’s a dirty, dark secret in the black community.
“There are a lot of black people who are unintelligent, who don’t have 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. It’s just typical BS that goes on when you’re black, man.”
I’m not sure why this is so controversial. This kind of behavior should surprise no one because, in addition to blacks, we run into the same behavior among lower- and middle-class Whites as well. Plenty of smart school children have experienced bullying and other forms of peer pressure for being “too smart.”
Because Blacks are a minority, they seem to be more likely to articulate their concerns in terms of “authentic” blackness, but it is still pretty much the same kind of attack by the unintelligent on the intelligent. People who lack a capacity or desire for success try to make their own behavior the standard for “being cool” and deride those who fail to live down to that standard.
In fact, if this attitude is more visible among African Americans, the reason might partly be because African Americans tend to be poorer (and younger) than the average in the White population.
Furthermore, White Liberals in the media and in politics tend to reward and elevate Blacks who spread this attitude. It is noteworthy that Barker made his fortune and won his fame in a way that depended on his own talent; not in selling a message that Whites in power approve of and wanted to see presented as an example to other African Americans.
So maybe there are some White people who are part of the problem after all.