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Former NBA star Charles Barkley ripped the nation’s political class on Saturday, saying politicians are dividing Americans along racial lines for personal gain.
“Man, I think most white people and Black people are great people,” Barkley said Saturday night during the CBS’s broadcast of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament.
“I really believe that in my heart, but I think our system is set up where our politicians, whether they’re 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,” he said.
Barkley had been asked to respond to a segment recalling former President John F. Kennedy in Indianapolis in 1968 announcing Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. The NCAA tournament games are taking place in Indianapolis.
Barkley said he “truly” believe “most white people and Black people are awesome people” but said Americans are “so stupid following our politicians.”
“Whether they’re Republicans or Democrats, 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,” the analyst said.
Barkley, one of the NBA’s most notorious trash-talkers during his time in the league, has been outspoken on issues of race and politics since leaving the game.
In 2019, Barkley said former President Trump had an “anger” problem and suggested both political parties take Black people for granted.
“I think all politicians take Black folks for granted,” Barkley said at the time. “They talk to Black folks every four years, and that’s about it. How they’re going to make our lives better, and then do nothing about it.”