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Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?by Charles Barkley
Synopses & Reviews
The thing about race, Charles Barkley says, is we talk about it only when something bad happens and tempers are high, and so all we do is shout at one another across a chasm that's wide and getting wider. The rest of the time we try to pretend that the chasm isn't there. The way to get real about things, Barkley demonstrates in this book, isn't to shout and point fingers, but to expose all the hypocrisy and phoniness that keep us from talking about the way things really are, and even to find the humor in all the crazy disconnects and misunderstandings between the different races in America. It's time someone did, because things aren't getting better, as he's here to show us. Racism has just gone underground: Sure, celebrities like him get the white-glove treatment, but in the meantime, we're living in a country that's growing steadily more racially segregated. If you're white, what are the odds you live or work with a significant number of black people? The odds are low and getting lower. When news of the Kobe Bryant case broke, 70 percent of whites polled thought he did it; 70 percent of blacks polled thought he was innocent. What's that about?, Charles Barkley wants to know. Until we learn to see into one another's minds and hearts a little more and, crucially, to laugh with one another, we're just going to keep living the lie that racism has gone away just because it's out of plain sight.
Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man? is part rant, part personal story, and part investigation: Barkley sounds off on a wonderful range of issues relating to the subject, from interracial love to affirmative action to real estate to racial stereotypes, and he relates personal stories from his own life experience. He also goes across America to see for himself where the country is with race, talking to students in Ann Arbor about affirmative action, sitting down with the Grand Dragon of the Alabama KKK, and drawing in many other famous Americans to talk about race in their own lives and lines of work.
Frank, funny as hell, explosive — everything we feel we can't say but it really is high time we did. Only Charles Barkley, and thank heaven for him.
"Don't let the cheeky title, the byline or the picture on the cover fool you: this is a serious book that's not about Charles Barkley. Instead, this work, edited by the Washington Post and ESPN's Wilbon, is a candid collection of 13 interviews by Barkley with prominent Americans like Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Tiger Woods, Morgan Freeman and comedian George Lopez on the oft-avoided subject of race. Barkley, well known for outspokenness as a player and an on-air commentator, challenges his interviewees to deal with this delicate issue head on. Barkley wisely keeps his opinions brief, letting his dynamic counterparts take center stage. In doing so he gets these stars to open up on how American society fares on such topics as racism, race relations, welfare reform, economic and social discrimination and creating opportunities for minorities. Mixed in with the bigger name celebs and politicians are lesser-known folk, such as Robert Johnson (the NBA's first black owner), the Children's Defense Fund's Miriam Wright Edelman (who laments that there are '580,000 black men in prison compared to about 45,000 who graduate from college each year') and Rabbi Steven Leder. For all the different backgrounds and opinions, all the participants believe the racial divide in America can only be bridged with a combination of reforms to our educational, medical and economic practices and a strong self-evaluation by the African-American community. Everyone also agrees that a core group of strong black leaders must emerge for these changes to be enacted. Surprisingly, this eye-opening book might point to Barkley as just such a leader." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This former NBA great has some tart things to say about hypocrisy in what is becoming an increasingly resegregated country." Library Journal
In a work that is part rant, part personal story, and part investigation, Barkley sounds off on a wonderful range of issues relating to the subject, from interracial love to affirmative action to real estate to racial stereotypes, and he relates personal stories from his own life experience.
From the inimitable Charles Barkley, author of the New York Times bestselling I May Be Wrong But I Doubt It, comes a frank, fearless, funny, and explosive look at the reality of race and racism in America today.
In this controversial national bestseller, former NBA star and author of I May Be Wrong But I Doubt It Charles Barkley takes on the major issue of our time. Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man is a series of charged, in-your-face conversations about race with some of America's most prominent figures, including Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Jesse Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Ice Cube, Marian Wright Edelman, Tiger Woods, Peter Guber, and Robert Johnson.
About the Author
Charles Barkley is a studio analyst for TNT's Inside the NBA¸ a regular contributor to CNN's TalkBack Live, and a frequent color commentator. Named one of the fifty greatest NBA players of all time, he was selected to eleven All-Star teams and won the NBA's MVP in 1993.
Michael Wilbon is a Washington Post sports columnist and the co-host, with Tony Hornheiser, of the ESPN show Pardon the Interruption.
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