On the most recent episode of the news and pop culture podcast, “The Steam Room,” co-host and former NBA player Charles Barkley condemned recent expressions of antisemitism from prominent black entertainers and athletes.
Barkley used the beginning of his show, which comes out twice a month, to point out the hypocrisy of those who claim other groups are racist while promoting hatred toward both Jewish and white people.
“I want allies. I don’t want to alienate anybody,” Barkley said. “And to take shots at the Jewish race, or white race — I just don’t like it because it’s not right. And I had to call him on it because it’s really, it’s really been on my heart.”
“I don’t understand how you beat hatred with more hatred.”
Charles on the recent anti-Semitic comments by athletes & entertainers. https://t.co/g2EfvXAxOv pic.twitter.com/DtF2aO6N5m
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) July 17, 2020
He cited the most notable examples of recent antisemitic and anti-white comments from prominent black Americans, including Eagles wide receiver Desean Jackson, former NFL running back Steven Jackson, former host of “Masked Singer” and “America’s Got Talent” Nick Cannon, and rapper Ice Cube.
“Desean Jackson, Steven Jackson, Nick Cannon, Ice Cube. Man, what the h-ll are y’all doing? Like, y’all want racial equality. We all do,” Barkley said. “I don’t understand how insulting another group helps our cause… We can’t allow black people to be prejudiced also… I’m so disappointed in these men.”
Former NBA player and columnist for “The Hollywood Reporter” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also expressed outrage at the lack of appropriate responses at these racist incidents. His column called out some of the same cultural elites.
“These famous, outspoken people share the same scapegoat logic as all oppressive groups from Nazis to the KKK: all our troubles are because of bad-apple groups that worship wrong, have the wrong complexion, come from the wrong country, are the wrong gender or love the wrong gender,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “It’s so disheartening to see people from groups that have been violently marginalized do the same thing to others without realizing that perpetuating this kind of bad logic is what perpetuates racism.”
On his show, Barkley also expressed alarm about the collective acceptance of such behavior, while observing Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the few prominent Americans to call it out.
“What I don’t understand is how you beat hatred with more hatred. That stuff should never come up in your vocabulary, and it should never come up in your heart. I don’t understand it. I’m never going to accept it. And I’m asking you guys, I’m begging you guys, man. You guys are famous. You got a platform. We got to do better, man.”