Sunday, October 26, 2014

Charles Barkley Exposes "a Dirty, Dark Secret"

Famed basketball legend Charles Barkley had his say about the current state of African-American culture.

The Daily Caller reports his remarks without commentary. I will do the same.

From The Daily Caller:

While appearing on “Afternoons with Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis,” Barkley was asked about a rumor that Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was getting criticism from his black teammates for not being, quote, “black enough.”

Barkley went on a long monologue on the subject: “Unfortunately, as I tell my white friends, we as black people, we’re never going to be successful, not because of you white people, but because of other black people. When you’re black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from other black people. It’s a dirty, dark secret; I’m glad it’s coming out.”

Barkley said that young black men who do well in school are accused of “acting white” by their peers. “One of the reasons we’re never going to be successful as a whole, 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.”

“There are a lot of black people who are unintelligent, who don’t have success,” he continued. “It’s best to knock a successful black person down because they’re intelligent, they speak well, they do well in school, and they’re successful…”

“We’re the only ethnic group who say, ‘Hey, if you go to jail, it gives you street cred.’ It’s just typical BS that goes on when you’re black, man.”

8 comments:

Ares Olympus said...

re: Barkley said that young black men who do well in school are accused of “acting white” by their peers. ... “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.”

That does sound like a predicament. I wonder how universal it is in the male black experience? Or maybe it is more focused on blacks who see their physical skills in sports as their bridge to success?!

And do these same peers dismiss President Obama as "acting white"? Probably they do if Barkley's perception is accurate.

So if this is really a "secret" perhaps Barkley, now standing up for intelligence can help those blacks in school who are looking for a voice of success and a reason to dismiss such peers as insecure or envious.

I try to imagine any positives in resistance against "acting white", and see there can be more positive reasons, but mainly I'd see it more like the negative stereotype of the "yuppy", if "being white" is about status and conspicuous consumption, then I don't want to be a part of that either, whether I was white or not.

I can think of Winona LaDuke's quote from the Minnesota White Earth tribal, "We don't want a bigger piece of the pie. We want a different pie."

She went to Harvard for economics, and learned everything the "white culture" had to teach her, and looked to use that knowledge to empower her own community, and she helped lead a movement to buy back tribal lands, and find reservation businesses that could allow the young people to stay on the land.

I guess in that respect Native Americans have a great advantage over African Americans, for finding a positive identity from their past.

In regards to the last quote “We’re the only ethnic group who say, ‘Hey, if you go to jail, it gives you street cred.’ It’s just typical BS that goes on when you’re black, man.”

Does this show some sort of "cultural internalization" from the expectations of the wider culture?

I can't imagine, but if all the older black males who seem to have respect are those who "survived" imprisonment, and learned the skills to talk tough, perhaps once blacks get on the wrong path, they double-down rather than questioning why they're doing what they're doing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistics_of_incarcerated_African-American_males
According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), African Americans constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population, and have nearly six times the rate of whites. In an August 2013, Sentencing Project report on Racial Disparities in the United States Criminal Justice System, submitted to the United Nations, "one of every three black American males born today can expect to go to prison in his lifetime".

How would my life be different if 1/3 of the males of my extended family had been in prison?

My last thought which I can identify with is guilt, those who find success in life, but surrounded by others who struggled more, and often deserved what they got, but were also railroaded by exploitation and drugs, etc, its hard to want to be successful when people you care about can't. I see it in the drugs more than skin color, but perhaps all the facts add up to a mess of confusion.

Sam L. said...

I am reminded of the story about frogs in a pot: When one almost climbs out, the others pull it back in. Remember "authenticity". An "authentic" black man is a gang member/hoodlum/etc. Rappers make lots of money and shoot each other. There are too many pathologies impressed on and expressed by the black population. Keeps them on the plantation.

Ares Olympus said...

Sam L, re: "I am reminded of the story about frogs in a pot: When one almost climbs out, the others pull it back in."

Which story was that? I never thought of frogs as being strong in their grabbing or pulling skills, and being slimy, the escapee would seem to have pretty good odds.

The only story I remember is the frog who is boiled by gradual raising the temperature.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_frog

Ares Olympus said...

p.s. A different side is here, an American Life program from last week.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JESM4uvoQkU Stories of schools struggling with what to do with misbehaving kids.

It starts with a story about 4 year old getting suspended in school for spitting at someone, and then interviews the mother who eventually discovers the white parents telling her much worse stories about about their kids behavior at school without any discipline greater than calling the parents.

Then it moves to a study that showed black kids were suspended at a much higher rate than whites.

And they mention something I've not heard about:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School-to-prison_pipeline
The term "school-to-prison pipeline" is a phrase that is used by education reform activists and organizations such as the ACLU the Justice Policy Center, Advancement Project, and the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) to describe what they view as a widespread pattern in the United States of pushing students, especially those who are already at a disadvantage, out of school and into the American criminal justice system. They argue that this "pipeline" is the result of public institutions being neglectful or derelict in properly addressing students as individuals who might need extra educational or social assistance, or being unable to do so because of staffing shortages or statutory mandates. The resulting miseducation and mass incarceration are said to create a vicious circle for individuals and communities.

So vicious circle sounds like a good description. If you unconsciously set different standards and expectations and punishments for black kids, they grow up in a different world, maybe no different than kids discovering (or fearing) their parents value their siblings better, in otherwords, scapegoats.

Are black kids "scapegoats", in schools, and on the streets? And if enough people treat youth like criminals, should we be surprised when a higher fraction of them act like criminals?

And if you live under an oppressive environment, where you are treated as guilty-until-proven-innocent, should we be surprised that some fraction of such children will rebel, and gain self-esteem in their rebellion, and yet also feel envious when they see other kids (like themselves) succeeding by more apple polishing behavior?

It is nice, if you can show bias, and you can give teachers the benefit of the doubt, but show them the existence of bias, and then let their own consciences try to confirm and do better.

But the radio program also questions what lessons should be taught, and if you only offset bias in schools, then perhaps black kids will think they have the same freedom as white kids to talk back to unjustice outside of school, and that may not be true.

Anonymous said...

"Barkley said that young black men who do well in school are accused of “acting white” by their peers."

This is because there are many more dumb blacks than smart ones.

But what kind of lifestyle has Barkley led?

He's hardly been an exemplar of dignity or intelligence.

Dennis said...

Anon October 26 4:33 PM,

Not true. There are far more blacks who have been told they are dumb by people who have something to gain from keeping them dumb. Met too many blacks in the military who once they got away from predominantly black areas find they do have the ability to succeed.

It would seem to me that Barkley has done quite well and recognizes the real problem for blacks is other blacks defining what it is to be black. Just as the real problem for most women is other women defining what it is to be a woman. In each case a significant number of people have an agenda that needs people to fit a given stereotype so they can easily be categorized and dealt with in a manner that those who want to control other require.

Anonymous said...


"I can think of Winona LaDuke's quote from the Minnesota White Earth tribal, "We don't want a bigger piece of the pie. We want a different pie."

She went to Harvard for economics, and learned everything the "white culture" had to teach her, and looked to use that knowledge to empower her own community, and she helped lead a movement to buy back tribal lands, and find reservation businesses that could allow the young people to stay on the land.

I guess in that respect Native Americans have a great advantage over African Americans, for finding a positive identity from their past."

Um, yeah, not a good example. They may buy back the lands, but they still use our infrastructure and services. It's not a different pie. It's more like pretending to have another pie and then taking from the other pie. It's nice if you can get it, I guess. Something for nothing seems to be the mantra for this country right now.

-Blahgga the Hutt

Ares Olympus said...

Blahgga the Hutt, re: Um, yeah, not a good example. They may buy back the lands, but they still use our infrastructure and services. It's not a different pie.

Wow, that's a lot of hostility against one snarky expression for autonomy.

Most people cheer when someone tried to be more self-supporting.

Clearly Native Americans are just not grateful enough in recognizing the White Man's burden, bringing Christian virtues and European Greed to their pagan hearts.