NBA legend-turned-sports analyst Charles Barkley is blaming politicians for keeping Black and white people at odds with one another in America.
While the country is reckoning with its history of racism and systemic injustice, Barkley says politicians are working to further “conquer and divide.”
“Man, I think most white people and Black people are great people. I really believe that in my heart, but I think our system is set up where our politicians, whether they are Republicans or Democrats, are designed to make us not like each other so they can keep their grasp of money and power,” he explained during CBS’ April 3 broadcast of the NCAA Final Four tournament.
The pointed comments were provoked by fellow analyst Ernie Johnson asking Barkley his thoughts on a clip of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy announcing to a crowd in Indianapolis on April 4, 1968, that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had just been assassinated. Indianapolis was the site of this year’s men’s Final Four.
“They divide and conquer. I truly believe in my heart that most white and Black people are awesome people, but we’re so stupid following our politician whether they are Republican or Democrat and their only job is ‘Hey, let’s make these people not like each other,” Barkley said. “‘We don’t live in their neighborhoods. We all got money, let’s make the whites and Blacks not like each other. Let’s make rich people and poor people not like each other, uh, let’s scramble the middle class.’ I truly believe that in my heart,” he further explained.
On social media, responses to the NBA Hall of Famer’s commentary was mixed.
“Props to him for having the courage to speak up and speak bluntly.”
“He is absolutely correct. I thank him and applaud him.”
Some flat out disagreed with Barkley’s logic and felt he was misinformed.
“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about”
“Where have Charles been at for the past 400+ years? Whites and blacks have never liked one another. They are willing to not cause any problems but the underlying hatred is still there. Not all but with most.”
“Truth is The System is Set Up to Keep White Supremacy in Power & Stop Black People From Gaining Any Power or Wealth”
Barkley is known for being outspoken about his political beliefs, so it comes as no surprise to sports fans that he had much to say about politicians race baiting ploys. In 2019 he criticized both parties for their lack of investment and follow-through in the Black community.
“I think all politicians take black folks for granted. They talk to black folks every four years, and that’s about it. How they’re going to make our lives better, and then do nothing about it,” said Barkley who once self-identified as a Republican. “It’s not a Republican or a Democrat thing, it’s not a liberal or a conservative thing — it’s an economic thing.”