Barkley: Everyone Has ‘Tribe Mentality’ on Race

Former NBA star and TNT NBA Analyst Charles Barkley lamented America’s “tribe mentality” on race and criticized many black leaders as a “cast of sad characters” in an interview broadcast on Tuesday’s “CNN Tonight.” 

Barkley said that while he believes Michael Brown’s stepfather should not be prosecuted for inciting a riot, he defended calling the looters and rioters “scumbags,” saying “when you’re looting people’s property, that’s what you are. That’s against the law, it’s not your property, you wouldn’t want people to do it to your house, and to go back to the stepdad, he didn’t want people to burn down his house.”

He also argued that their would not be similar outrage if Darren Wilson was black, but that is because “we have a racial issue in this country.” And “we never discuss race until something bad happens. We never have meaningful dialogue over a cold beer when things are going good. But what happens is when something bad happens everybody has a tribe mentality. Everybody want[s] to protect their own tribe, whether they’re right or wrong,” adding “we all got bad characters in our group.”

Barkley also turned to the rhetoric towards law enforcement, stating “the notion that white cops are out there just killing black people, that’s ridiculous. It’s just flat out ridiculous…the cops are actually awesome, they are the only thing in the ghetto between this place being the wild, wild west. So, this notion that cops are out there just killing black men is ridiculous, and I hate that narrative coming out of this entire situation.”

He also said that the police in the Eric Garner case in New York “got a little aggressive,” and might be “excessive force,” but also argued “if you fight back, things go wrong.”

Barkley further addressed the issue of racial profiling, declaring “there’s a reason they [cops] racially profile us at times. Sometimes it’s wrong, but sometimes it’s right.”

He expressed that the president should not go to Ferguson, adding “another thing that annoy annoys me about this whole situation, Brooke. Every time something happen[s] in the black community, we have the same cast of sad character, and we don’t have to have Al Sharpton go there…we have the same sad sack of black characters, we need strong black men in St. Louis to stand up, and say, ‘hey, let’s handle this situation.'”

Barkley also commented on the controversy over NFL running back Ray Rice. He predicted that no one would sign Rice, but hoped that someone would have the “courage” to give him another chance. Although, he argued that he was “disgusted” by Roger Goodell and that there should be automatic expulsion from the league for someone who commits a second domestic violence offense. 

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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