Like Jesse Jackson when it comes to politics, Charles Barkley has been the go to guy on matters of race when it attaches itself to sports for white folks here in America.
This is sad, because it speaks to the frivolous and shallow nature of the understanding of racial issues in America by the Majority population.
Charles Barkley is nothing more than a clown and a buffoon. He is a guy who subjects himself to ridicule by participating in the most vulgar display of abject coonery on a regular basis for the entertainment of his white audience.
Watching him shuck and jive with his fellow studio hosts (who are not much better) during those NBA telecasts is always painful to watch. But at least we know that he is there to shuck and jive. When he attempts to get serious and speak on matters of race it is cringe worthy and embarrassing.
Not to white folks, of course, but to any black person in America who views the issue of race as more than just a sound bite on the radio about "unintelligent" blacks bringing the rest of us down.
Sir Charles made this grand pronouncement recently after stories surfaced that the quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks was acting too white for some of his black teammates. (A story we still can't verify since the alleged sources of the story remains anonymous.)
And let me get this out of the way right now: If this is in fact true, the black players in that locker room who made such an ignorant statement are just as ignorant as Charles Barkley.
You can knock Russell Wilson for how he is playing on Sundays, but not how he acts off the field, or the way he speaks or chooses to carry himself.
For the record, I am quite sure that most black people in America would agree with that position.
But back to Charles.
He could have simply stated his opposition to what some of those Seahawks players allegedly said the way I just did, but he did not. Instead he chose to declare that ignorant and "unintelligent" blacks are holding the rest of us back.
This of course is ironic coming from a man who needs English sub-titles when he speaks on television. There are times when I wonder if this worldly college educated man who has made millions of dollars in his life actually left Leeds, Alabama.
Just trying to listen to him talk is a struggle, and yet he has the nerve to call other blacks "unintelligent." Now if that ain't the pot calling the kettle black. (Pun intended)
Sadly he is allowed. Because like the Larry Riley character in A Soldier's Story, C.J. Memphis, Sir Charles is the kind of Negro that gives certain whites comfort. He fits the stereotype of the cooning barely literate jokester, who is not afraid to call out his own and say things that the white man wishes he could without repercussions. He will always have the microphone in front of him to speak on racial issues, because what he says will never be viewed as uncomfortable to certain people.
Sir Charles won't talk about the reason that blacks in places like Ferguson, Missouri are "unintelligent". He won't talk about the dysfunctional families and a lack of a proper education that creates generational poverty. And he certainly will not talk about a political system in place that's meant to keep things just the way they are.
So what does he do? He bemoans the fact that they are holding the rest of us back.
I will close by telling Charles Barkley what Adolph Caesar's character told C.J. Memphis in A Soldier's Story:
"Whole lot of people just can’t seem to fit in to where things seem to be going. Like you, CJ. See, the Black race can’t afford you no more. There used to be a time, we’d see someone like you singin’, clownin’, yassuh-bossin’… and we wouldn’t do anything. Folks liked that. You were good. Homey kind of nigger. When they needed somebody to mistreat, call a name or two, they paraded you. Reminded them of the good old days. Not no more. The day of the Geechee is gone, boy. And you’re going with it. "
Poor Charles. If he would only do a little introspection he would realize that he is closer to all those Negroes that he likes to complain about than the rest of us.