Charles Barkley Refuses the Ferguson Story

Charles Barkley defended the grand jury while condemning rioters.

charles barkley

The sports star refuses to feel pressured to conform to racial (racist?) expectations. He has his own opinions. He recently shared them on the Philadelphia radio station 97.5 The Fanatic. Here is the transcript via USA Today:

“[Those expletives] who are looting, those aren’t real black people, those are scumbags. Real black people, they’re not out there looting. I just watched a great story on CNN where bunch of folks wouldn’t let them burn down an establishment, it was a great story…. But unfortunately, the way the media portrays a lot of black people, we only put the negative black people on television. We don’t put the good hard-working black people. That’s what I said and that’s what I meant. There’s a perception amongst some black people that if you’re not a thug or a hood rat, you don’t wear your pants down by your [expletive] you’re not black enough. And they’re always holding us back, plain and simple. And I aint shutting up and I aint backing down.”

[See also, “Charles Barkley Should Have Included Whites in His Critique.”]

He said a lot more. You can listen to his interview here (language warning!):

I think I disagree (or would at least want to qualify) some of his statements. For example, consider this excerpt:

“I’m not saying who is right or wrong, I’m just hearing the true story that came out of the grand jury investigation…. Let me just say this. I think that we, we – I know I’m black, but I’m going to try to always be honest and fair – we have to be really careful with the cops. If it wasn’t for the cops, we’d be living in the wild wild west in our neighborhoods. We can’t pick out certain incidents that don’t go our way and act like the cops are all bad. I hate when we do that. Think about it. Do you know how bad some of these neighborhoods would be if it wasn’t for the cops? It’s always great to play monday morning quarterback…. Like I say, I don’t know what happened in Ferguson, nobody knows what happened. I want to take the time as a responsible person [and] read the grand jury statement.”

I’m one of those weird people who doesn’t think the American West was as “wild” as Hollywood likes to believe. And while I agree with most of this, I wonder about the assumption that the cops are the only thing preventing black neighborhoods from descending into anarchy. I certainly agree that good policemen help preserve these neighborhoods, as do good plumbers, good teachers, good parents and all sorts of other good people. But in fact many of these neighborhoods have very little police presence. In such cases, I’m not sure what is being prevented. Also, maybe these neighborhoods would improve if the residents stopped relying on people from outside paid to patrol them, and instead worked together to stop crime in their own neighborhoods.

I think the latter alternative is more consistent with the Second Amendment.