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Dana Marcy
May 3rd, 2005, 11:02 PM
Charles Barkley's 'Black Man' talks about racism
By Bob Minzesheimer, USA TODAY

The most provocative feature of Charles Barkley's collection of interviews about racism is the title: Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?

No one need fear Barkley. He's no militant radical. He's less a social critic than a pragmatic businessman. He wants minorities to get their fair share of the pie.

Barkley, the retired basketball star and outspoken TV commentator, has come a long way since 1991, when he said he was misquoted in Outrageous!, his autobiography.

In 2002, he wrote another book, I May Be Wrong but I Doubt It.

He's more serious in his latest book, conversations about racism with 13 prominent athletes, politicians, entertainers and others.

For the most part, his subjects, including Tiger Woods, President Clinton, Ice Cube and Morgan Freeman, deal with familiar questions: the stereotyping in popular culture, the use of the "N word," the symbolism of the Confederate flag.

Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?
By Charles Barkley
Penguin, 236 pp., $24.95

Barack Obama, the only black member of the U.S. Senate, complains: "This whole attitude of anti-intellectualism in our communities is one of the most damaging things that we can do to our young people. No other culture I'm aware of does this: tell you it is to your advantage not to be smart."

Author Marita Golden, one of two women among the 13 interview subjects, blasts the sexism of churches "filled with women, just filled with women, and yet women can't speak from the pulpit in the typical black church."

The book is well-intentioned. "I'm not an angry black man who's trying to lecture everyone," Barkley writes. "But I'm in the unique position of being black and being somewhat famous and wealthy. ... If black people with some influence don't address this issue and get conversations started, then who will? Racism is a taboo topic, but it shouldn't be."

But there's a difference between merely starting a conversation and steering it to new ground.

Barkley interviewed people he admires and is comfortable with. There are no scholars, intellectuals or conservatives, although his editor, sportswriter Michael Wilbon, drops a reference to an off-the-record session with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who "told Charles ... he was on to something important, something worthy of serious discussion."

As for the book's title, no one need fear Barkley. He's no militant radical. He's less a social critic than a pragmatic businessman. He wants minorities to get their fair share of the pie. He doesn't question the making of the pie.

In his conversation with Los Angeles rabbi Steven Leder, Barkley expresses surprise that Jews once played a key role in the NAACP. That doesn't speak well of someone who calls himself a child of the civil rights movement and a political junkie. If he wants to write serious books, Barkley has some homework to do first.

Dana Marcy
May 3rd, 2005, 11:03 PM
This is the only part of the article I like...

Barack Obama, the only black member of the U.S. Senate, complains: "This whole attitude of anti-intellectualism in our communities is one of the most damaging things that we can do to our young people. No other culture I'm aware of does this: tell you it is to your advantage not to be smart."

Barack :worship:

Rocketta
May 3rd, 2005, 11:08 PM
wait Charles Barkley is black now? :scared: :tape: ;)

harloo
May 3rd, 2005, 11:12 PM
wait Charles Barkley is black now? :scared: :tape: ;)

:tape: :tape: You ain't living right!:lol:

Rocketta
May 3rd, 2005, 11:14 PM
:tape: :tape: You ain't living right!:lol:

:p

Knizzle
May 3rd, 2005, 11:15 PM
wait Charles Barkley is black now? :scared: :tape: ;)

:haha: :haha:

I nearly bought this book the other day, but I bought Phil Jackson's book instead. Maybe next time Charles.