CNN’s Don Lemon thinks that Charles Barkley has a point about successful African Americans enduring the slings and arrows from less successful African Americans.
Discussing the controversy over Russell Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks teammates allegedly dubbing him insufficiently black, and the Round Mound of Rebound’s observations about the story that quickly eclipsed the initial controversy, Lemon told guests Tara Setmayer and Van Jones that his experience meshes with Barkley’s comment.
“I may not have worded it the way he did,” The Blaze‘s Tara Setmayer told Lemon. “But I understand where he is coming from. The most racism I ever experienced in my life came from people in the black community from the time I was a little girl–because I’m light skinned, because I have light eyes, because I speak differently, because I’m educated. It was ridiculous.”
When Van Jones, who reacted to Barkley’s comments with “Lord, Lord, Lord,” began talking about a “prison system out of control” and other obstacles African Americans endure, Lemon called Jones’s point an “entirely different subject.” The CNN anchor rejected the idea that one must reflexively provide a caveat about racism when addressing problems in the black community caused by blacks. He maintained, “You can mention one thing and not have to mention the other all the time.”
Lemon noted the pressure on him as an African American in the media to push particular themes: “If I don’t carry a certain narrative…then I am all of a sudden an Uncle Tom, a sellout.”
Barkley made a similar point last week. “One of the reasons we’re never going to be successful as a whole,” the former 76er told a Philadelphia radio station, is “because of other black people. And for some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not black enough. If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent, and don’t break the law, you’re not a good black person. And it’s a dirty, dark secret.”
The CNN anchor reported going to lunch with nearly a dozen African Americans the previous day. When the subject of Barkley arose, Lemon related: “Everyone said, ‘He has a point.'”