CNN anchor Don Lemon is backing Charles Barkley for speaking “some truth” when the basketball icon accused “unintelligent” African Americans of criticizing others for not being “black enough.”
“Clearly misplaced criticism of black people by other black people is not the main cause for some African Americans not achieving success,” Lemon said on a radio show on Monday. “But in all honesty, I’ve heard a lot of black people have the ‘crabs in a barrel’ conversation in private and behind closed doors. Charles Barkley just took it public.”
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Barkley, now an NBA analyst for TNT, made his comments on the radio, too, while responding to a report that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson isn’t seen as “black enough” by some of his NFL teammates.
“For some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not black enough,” Barkley said during “Afternoons with Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis.” “If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent, and don’t break the law, you’re not a good black person.”
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“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 … It’s just typical B.S. that goes on when you’re a black man.”
Immediate backlash from the black community followed Barkley’s assertion. But Lemon wondered why, and suggested people simply might be afraid of the truth.
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“Is that what makes his critics so uncomfortable, or is the discomfort because there may be some truth in his statements?” Lemon said.