Barkley's monologue comes as a response to a segment where then-senator, and presidential candidate, Robert F. Kennedy addressed a crowd in Indianapolis, the site of the Final Four, on April 4, 1968, to deliver the news that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King had been assassinated.
Kennedy asked Black citizens to not retaliate with anger. But when Barkley was asked on the air to address the segment, he aimed for politicians and the state of current politics.
"Man, I think most white people and Black people are great people," Barkley said. "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."
"I truly believe in my heart most white people and Black people are awesome people, but we’re 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."
Barkley has been vocal about issues of race and inequality in the past. He was critical of efforts to defund the police and he dismissed the argument that Steve Nash was hired because of white privilege.
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