Charles Barkley doesn’t want White America dictating N-word rules (Video)
Barkley shared his thoughts on TNT Thursday. The subject came up because of Matt Barnes, who was fined $20,000 on Thursday in part for his foul language in a tweet sent after his ejection from Wednesday’s game. In the tweet, Barnes called his teammates “niggas.”
Barkley defended Barnes’ use of the term, but he said Twitter was not the proper forum to use the word.
“What I do with my black friends is not up to White America to dictate to me what’s appropriate and inappropriate,” Barkley said.
Barkley then ventured into the locker room debate that has come up in light of the Miami Dolphins situation involving Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito. Barkley believes the locker room is a place where players can use homophobic, racist and sexist language.
“The language we use is sometimes homophobic, sometimes it’s sexist, a lot of times it’s racist. We do that when we’re joking with our teammates, and it’s nothing personal,” he says.
“This national debate that’s going on right now it makes me uncomfortable.”
I understand Barkley’s point about the locker room but disagree with him. The problem is Barkley believes that none of his teammates take that kind of language personally because he doesn’t. But he might be wrong about that assumption. A guy like Martin acted like everything was OK in the Dolphins’ locker room, but it turned out things bothered him. And what if there is a gay player in the locker room and homophobic language is used, isn’t it possible that make that player uncomfortable?
As for the use of the N-word, I understand that it has different meanings and implications depending on who uses it and how. If a white person calls a black person a nigger, it would most likely be considered a slur. If a black person calls another black person “my nigga,” it can be viewed as a term of endearment, like calling someone your brother. That’s just the way it is.
But if the overall term has a negative connotation, I would suggest coming up with other ways of showing affection so that the wrong people don’t get the wrong idea about the word, and so that the use of a hurtful word isn’t perpetuated.
Also – apologies for writing the full word in this post, but in order to communicate my message in the most clear way, I felt that writing the full words was necessary.