April 04, 2021
Charles Barkley gave a biting critique of American politics on Saturday, accusing both Republican and Democratic lawmakers of attempting to "make the whites and Blacks not like each other."
The Basketball Hall of Famer's comments came during CBS' pregame coverage ahead of the 2021 NCAA Men's Final Four in Indianapolis. The former Philadelphia 76er has been working as an analyst for CBS and Turner Sports during March Madness.
The pregame show featured a filmed segment of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy telling a crowd in Indianapolis on April 4, 1968 that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated that same day in Memphis. The Democratic presidential candidate, who would be assassinated himself just two months later in Los Angeles, called on Blacks not to retaliate with violence.
Barkley was then prompted by host Ernie Johnson to weigh in with his thoughts after the segment had aired.
"I think most white people and Black people are great people. I really believe that in my heart. But I think our system is set up where our politicians, whether they are Republicans or Democrats, are designed to make us not like each other so they can keep their grasp of money and power. They divide and conquer," Barkley said.
"I truly believe in my heart that most white people and Black people are awesome people. But we're so stupid following our politicians, whether they are Republicans or Democrats," he continued. "And their only job is, 'Hey, let's make these people not like each other. We don't live in their neighborhoods. We all got money. Let's make the whites and Blacks not like each other. Let's make rich people and poor people not like each other. Let's scramble the middle class.' I truly believe that in my heart."
Social media responded with mixed reviews to Barkley's comments. While many applauded him for his blunt honesty, some accused the TV analyst of practicing false equivalence.
[WARNING: Expletive language]
"Let's make the whites and blacks not like each other."— David Hookstead (@dhookstead) April 4, 2021
Charles Barkley shared a powerful message about how politicians want black and white people to hate each other.
Props to him for having the courage to speak up and speak bluntly. pic.twitter.com/TAo7ARC8gM
We’re all humans. Shout out to Charles Barkley for hitting the national audience with the truth. pic.twitter.com/fbbBuh2LZh— Pomp 🌪 (@APompliano) April 4, 2021
Charles Barkley dropping truth 💣💣💣 bombs.— Independent Women's Voice (@IWV) April 4, 2021
This isn’t truth. This is ignorance Charles Barkley is speaking with. Lester Holt already tried to tell you this thinking is BULLSHIT. just this week with this both sidesing garbage https://t.co/ptGbOokH5o— 𝐄𝐱𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐫 𝐏𝐨𝐩𝐞 (@exavierpope) April 4, 2021
This is not the first time that the outspoken Barkley has weighed in on political matters.
The 58-year-old has previously shared his opinion on issues such as the NBA-China controversy, former President Donald Trump's administration, Alabama's special Senate election in 2017 and LGBT rights.