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Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?

Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?

4.0 6
by Charles Barkley, Michael Wilbon (Editor)

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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,


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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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. (Apr. 5) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Barkley (I May Be Wrong but I Doubt It) was a great basketball player who was never afraid to speak his mind on any number of topics. In this book, he attempts to discuss the controversial issue of race in America by interviewing 13 prominent men and women from an assortment of fields. Sports columnist and TV host Michael Wilbon (Washington Post, ESPN) has acted as editor. Barkley speaks with politicians Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, activists Jesse Jackson, and Marian Wright Edelman, golfer Tiger Woods, Rabbi Steven Leder, businessman Robert Johnson, writer Marita Golden (Don't Play in the Sun: One Woman's Journey Through the Color Complex), and, from the entertainment industry, Samuel L. Jackson, Morgan Freeman, George Lopez, Ice Cube, and producer Peter Guber. Diversity advocates will note nine blacks, one Hispanic, and two females but zero conservatives. There is thus not much variety of thought in the book; it is mostly blue-state boilerplate with the occasional moderate comment regarding the need for personal responsibility. However, the prominence of the author and the people he has interviewed will likely lead readers to seek the book out. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/04.]-John Maxymuk, Rutgers Univ. Lib., Camden, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.32(h) x 0.94(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet 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 commentator on racial issues. He was recently selected by Sports Illustrated as "The #1 Most Interesting Sports Personality in the Last 25 Years." Named "One of the Fifty Greatest NBA Players of All Time," also by Sports Illustrated, he was chosen for eleven All-Star teams and won the NBA's MVP in 1993.

Michael Wilbon is The Washington Post's most popular sports columnist and the co-host of ESPN's hit show "Pardon the Interruption."

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Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man? 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Charles Barkely may not be the most eloquent speaker or writer, but you know exactly what's on his mind. And what's on his mind now is the cancer of racism in this country. Charles makes a passionate plea for Americans to wake and talk about racism, instead of hiding behind it's taboo.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No one can tell the truth as well as Charles Barkley. This is a great book about the rational insight into politics, the race issues our country has always faced, the advantages of fame which results in power but I especially liked his opinion about what happened during Katrina. I think every person in this country, no matter what race or color we are, all of us should be ashamed and never forget what we as US citizens let happen.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This books is better than you would think. As the interview's are quite fascinating.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a Black woman who has grown up in and continues to live in the South, I am quite familiar with racism. I think it is very important for all Americans to seriously consider the issue of racism in this country. To the extent that Mr. Barkley continues to foster that discussion, I think the book is decent. However, I don't think it was necessary for him to interject his own opinion in the midst of the inteviews. That took away from each person's message and I didn't find his comments particularly illuminating or profound. He could have reserved his statements for the Afterword. The problem with many books of this ilk is that the same issues are bandied about, the Black family structure, lack of opportunities and education,the lack of Black leadership etc but the books never take it to the next level to a serious discussion of viable solutions to racism. Perhaps Mr. Barkley is not the person to do it but I wish others who have studied racism and its effects on soicety would have been included in this book to offer ways to change the status quo. While I enjoyed many of the interviews conducted in the book, most of those interviewed offered ideas on what needs to be done but no concrete steps to accomplish it. Of course it will take the work of many to reach these goals but I would have liked to hear ideas on where we go from here and that was lacking in the book. The two interviews that were the least impressive to me were those of Morgan Freeman and Robert Johnson. While I have tremendous respect for Mr. Freeman and applauded his recent Oscar, his stated obligation to only himself and his talent was very disappointing. I would have thought that someone of his generation would have felt differently. I believe every minority has the obligation not to just strive to succeed in a racist system, but help others and fight against that same racism. If we aren't going to reach out and help our own, how can we expect White America to take our plight seriously. Robert Johnson I just don't care for. His explanation for selling BET to Viacom is that no black people had $3 billion in stock so he HAD to sell it to a white coporation. What about a commitment to diversity on television and having control of our own image which we lack on most other networks. Why doesn't that take precedence. He talks about how people came together in the civil rights movement and now its about the bling bling yet fails to see his role in that. BET used to highlight many informative news shows that intelligently discussed issues affecting Black communities. Now we are inundated with videos glamorzing bling bling, sex, violence etc. They are even getting rid of the nightly news report and that is only one hour a day. He needs to have a serious look in the mirror. I no longer see a Black leader who revolutionized communications. I see a man governed more by greed than any commitment to the help disadvantaged Blacks.