Barkley — sometimes funny on TNT; not this time
Basketball Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley is known for being outspoken—and sometimes putting his foot in his mouth.
Once again, he has done so by weighing in on the Michael Brown grand jury decision not to indict his killer Darren Wilson, with shallow statements that do more harm than good to the Black community.
He is not as intelligent as he believes himself to be. His TNT clowning is cool for some things and earns him a big paycheck; certainly buffoonery on serious matters like police brutality is inappropriate even if it may get him a raise.
Our real objection to Mr. Barkley here is not the fact that he thinks the decision was correct—although, we vehemently disagree with him. What outrages us is that his unthinkingly callous comments only help those who are in the business of demonizing the Black American community—by making Blacks appear as a uniquely criminal-class of people in this America.
Last week, in an interview on Philadelphia’s 97.5 radio station Barkley who is now a resident basketball analyst on TNT, and in-house minstrel buffoon, said he agreed with the Ferguson grand jury findings that Wilson was justified with killing unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9.
During the interview, Barkley said, of the Ferguson decision “The true story came out from the grand jury testimony.” Barkley also claimed he was made aware of “key forensic evidence, and several Black witnesses that supported Officer Darren Wilson’s story.”
First off, we would like to ask Mr. Barkley what “true story” and “key forensic evidence” does he speak of? If he knows the “true story” why doesn’t he enlighten the Black community of these pertinent facts?
Barkley castigated the media saying: “I can’t believe anything I hear on television anymore. And, that’s why I don’t like talking about race issues with the media anymore, because they love this stuff, and lead people to jump to conclusions. The media shouldn’t do that. They never do that when Black people kill each other. “
First of all, Barkley interjects an irrelevant excuse that some people like to use whenever the issue of police brutality and murder is raised: the rationale that Black people kill other Black people in America.
Indeed, Black people do kill other Black people—this is just the most extreme aspect of the pathological behavior that we’ve learned in America. But, is that supposed to absolve White cops who kill people—because some Blacks kill other Blacks? Shouldn’t we expect a high standard of behavior from law enforcement officers?
None other than brutish former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani seemed to justify Michael Brown’s cold-blooded execution and the overwhelming presence of White cops policing Black neighborhoods by saying Black folk are “killing each other 70 percent of the time.”
We have no problem talking about the pathology, which includes crime committed against Black people by other Black people, referred to in the “media” Barkley talks about but seems to know nothing of, as “Black-on-Black crime.”
Eighty three percent of murders of White people are committed by White people. Since when have you heard the term White-on-White crime Barkley?
All crime is bad; but when Blacks kill other Black folk it’s somehow more demonic than White folks killing fellow Whites. For your information Barkley the genocide in Nazi Germany was committed –yes we know you were too busy playing basketball instead of reading while at Auburn– by White folk. That was a lot of White-on-White crime.
So when it comes to serious “same-race” blood-letting Black folk don’t own the patent or monopoly, Barkley.
Serious discussions cannot evolve around the kind of empty-headed nonsense Mr. Barkley spouted—and to seriously do this we must talk about its connection to White pathology and White supremacy.
Any analysis of the pathology in the Black community must comprehensively analyze where much of these self-destructive tendencies came from: the profound prejudice that Black people have faced since the first day they set foot onto the shores of this America.
Gross greed and materialism has made America a criminogenic society. It started this way with stealing the land from Native Americans, followed by the economic exploitation of enslaved Africans.
Barkley claims the media lead “people to jump to conclusions,” that, were supposedly wrong. Yet isn’t he really the one guilty of this? For example, how does he really know there are “several Black witnesses that supported Officer Darren Wilson’s story?” Isn’t he basing this on unconfirmed media reports?
Because of the manner in which the St. Louis county prosecutor Bob McCulloch convened this grand jury, how can we trust there were “several Black witnesses” contradicting the multiple witnesses that said Officer Wilson shot Michael Brown dead as he was surrendering?
Importantly, we do know that the testimony of one witness—who was quoted by Mr. McCulloch—is dubious at best. In fact, this testimony was skillfully debunked by Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC.
Doesn’t Barkley believe it’s a gross corruption of the St. Louis grand jury proceeding for an assistant district attorney to mislead the jurors by claiming that when a suspect flees, that in itself is enough ground to shoot the suspect, when in fact that Missouri law of 1979 was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1985?
And the assistant district attorney never really corrected this falsehood; and it would not have mattered anyway since the damage was done. The one time Barkley needs to watch TV is to review this excellent destruction of McCulloch’s sham and partisan grand jury proceeding, again by Lawrence O’Donnell.
Moreover, we now know—given the scandalous stories surrounding former NYPD Detective Louis Scarcella—that police and prosecutors procure testimony when it suits their purpose. How do we know something similar didn’t happen here—especially given all the “irregularities” that occurred with this grand jury?
In his comments, Barkley never acknowledged any problem with racism among certain White officers. In fact, he sounded like a police apologist—parroting some of the trite nonsense we often heard to excuse police misconduct against Black people.
We “have to be really careful with the cops, because if it wasn’t for the cops we would be living in the Wild, Wild West in our neighborhoods,” Barkley said. “We can’t pick out certain incidentals that don’t go our way and act like the cops are all bad,” he said, “Do you know how bad some of these neighborhoods would be if it wasn’t for the cops?”
Police are not doing a favor for any community — Black or White. Yes, it’s a commendable and honorable profession. Nevertheless it’s still a profession, and even though communities where policing are effective are grateful, this does not provide license for criminality or police brutality.
People in the “our neighborhoods” Barkley refer to appreciate good policing; not criminality from the any quarter, including those in uniform.
And in invoking the image of Black neighborhoods as being like the “Wild West,” he perpetuates the racist notion that Black crime is a grotesquely unique phenomena in America. Ironically, many of the Black gangsters emulate the “Wild West” pathology of White gangsters, including the Mafia.
And we won’t mention Giuliani in case we are accused of taking a cheap shot as he did.
We don’t argue that all cops are bad; no one who is taken seriously says that.
We do maintain that racial profiling is a primary problem in Black communities, because of institutional racism. Police engage in much more brutally militaristic and aggressive tactics in Black communities. That is an indisputable fact—all the statistics bear this out and even Barkley deep down must know this.
Some conservatives are delighted by Barkley’s comments — yes, they do enjoy “Black-on-Black” mouthing off.
Here, Barkley is held up as the spokesperson for all Black folk; ironically by the very same people who claim Black folk wrongfully hold up brutal cops like Darren Wilson as representative of all cops.
Also, conservatives complain that Black folk are too dependent on government. And so they should criticize Barkley –and Giuliani– for advocating dependence by Blacks on White cops.
In fact shouldn’t Black America be seriously considering having its own police forces that are accountable to the Black community—and not to those who don’t live there? Conservatives should support this.
And, come to think of it where does Barkley live?
Editor’s Note: Please sign the Petition calling on the Department of Justice to bring charges against Darren Wilson