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Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  384 ratings  ·  51 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, ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 31st 2005 by Penguin Press HC, The
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Brian TramueL
Sep 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Better than I expected, also a lot of what I expected. I approached with an open mind however it read as preachy and for me I am unable to relatable as entertainers and athletes (although they may have started from humble beginnings) are often detached from the reality of everyday folks and our experiences concerning racial issues. I know the title refers to a man, but I would have like to have 'heard' more from women.
Paulo Glez Ogando
Be careful, because although the author of this book is the basketball player Charles Barkley, ther is no ball here, since this book is about race and racism in the USA. Barkley declares that his inspiration for this book is simply that he has to attack racism. So, he interviewed people who are influential in their varius fields (politics, sports, movies, music, business, religion or education) in relation with race issues. And he inserts his own opinions and comments as each interview goes on.

Jan 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I picked this up as a light airplane read and kept it because I think it's something more. It's refreshing to get a perspective on race that's more down to earth than academic theory or systems analysis. Barkley picks a great variety of political and cultural figures and I like the focus more on cultural racism than the traditional civil rights and poverty spin. There's lots of great discussions in there and I think it could be a great conversation starter - accessible enough to break the ...more
Daniel S.
This book was somewhat dry at points, however it expresses views of a man who has been feared by his size and the color of his skin. I would recomend this book, mainly to people who have an inerest in divirsity (Anna Matthews). I also liked this book because Charles Barkly was a Professional Basketball player, and I tend to like books by Pro Athletes.
Beverly K.
Mar 22, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 2005, this book did not stand the test of time. First, only two of the 13 people featured were women. And at least two of the men--Tiger Woods and Bill Cosby--have had pretty significant falls from grace. I also expect that the opinions of all those interviewed (and Charles Barkley himself) would have evolved in the nearly 15 years since.
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this book. The title caught my attention and this book is neat because Barkley interview several different people about race relations. It's interesting to learn different people's point of view and I became aware of some things I didn't know.
May 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Today I finished “Who’s Afraid Of A Large Black Man?“, by Charles Barkley (edited by Michael Wilbon) (2005). This is a book about racism in America. More specifically, it’s a book about asking successful people to discuss their experiences and views about racism in America.

Charles Barkley is a famous former professional athlete. In this book, he interviews thirteen people to open a discussion about race and racism in America. The list includes: Tiger Woods, former President Bill Clinton, former
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually stumbled across this book while looking for autobiographies about different athletes. This is a really fascinating book. Barkley does a wonderful job, in my opinion, of saying exactly what he's thinking without sounding angry or bitter, emotions which tend to close listeners' ears when they most need to be open. He even mentions that fact in the book - approaching people with ideas in anger or hostility rarely allows for you to truly be heard or understood. He makes his point, but not ...more
Jun 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This book is a fairly eye-opening commentary on race in our society. The book consists of a collection of interviews with comments by Barkley interspersed. There are so many different thoughts that ran through me while reading this book. First off, it is Barkley's firm belief that racism is the cancer of his generation (last time I checked we didn't cure cancer, so I'm pretty sure cancer is the cancer of his generation but that's just nitpicking) and I think that he is right, it is a huge ...more
As a successful, wealthy influential former pro athlete Charles Barkley says he feels it is his responsibility to do whatever he can to make this world a better place, particularly in the area of race relations. This book, a series of conversations with 13 leaders in a variety of fields, includes Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, Morgan Freeman, Jesse Jackson, Rabbi Steven Leder and Marian Wright Edelman. Barkley plays devil's advocate with the interviewees and isn't afraid to disagree sometimes. ...more
Aug 14, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christine by: Bob Craghead
I wouldn't have read this if it weren't for my book group. And I thought I was glad I was reading it once I read the intro, which made it sound interesting: Charles Barkley interviews a lot of prominent people on the subject of race. But then it was really kind of random. I got seriously bogged down on Jesse Jackson's interview (setting the book aside for a couple of weeks), but made it through. I'd say the interviews with Tiger Woods and Marian Wright Edelman were worth reading. And the one ...more
Charlene Baumbich
Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a thought provoking, accessible book on racism.

Part of Barkley's intention was to ignite more dialogue on the topic, get people past their fear of discussion. He interviewed, and talked about, prominent figures throughout sports, politics and entertainment. Barkley style, he nabbed some unlikely candidates, and included their surprising, philosophical, angry and sometimes confounding thoughts. Always--always--he had interesting thoughts of his own to add.

I came away feeling not only
Apr 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone that is interested in several people's opinions on race
Recommended to Carrie by: Damon - thanks:)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book was educational and I was able to pull lots of information out of if for my own knowledge. I liked this both because it showed me different views from many various people and also it told how people in different fields of the entertainment businness deal with racism. I rated this book as a four because it opened my eyes on different racial topics. For instance in one chapter when Charles Barkley was interviewing Samuel l . Jackson I was enlightened about the network WB. In this ...more
Jun 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I did not expect to enjoy this but I did. The title is pretty misleading and I can definitely understand how that might turn people off reading it. When I first saw it in a bargain bin at Borders some years ago, I barely glanced at it before deciding to take a second look and flip through. It was definitely a good decision on my part because I bought it that day (but only ended up reading it recently).

Barkley sits down with a bunch of people to discuss race from a variety of perspectives which
Northern K Sunderland
Dec 12, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: A person who has somehow never heard of Racism, or Inequality
I greatly respect the struggle of the man classified as a minority against a system that is determined to keep him down. I am positive that racism is still prevalent in the States(especially in the South), and that it greatly effects the efforts of non-white Americans.
This book is an uninspired re-telling of these obvious truths, which had been brought out years ago by much actual Authors. In fact, most of the book is written by other people.
When it really boils down to it, I'm sure things
got this with the other barkley book. what are the odds i finish this one as well before atonement....pretty good i'd say......

...odds about finishing before atonement even better....started yesterday after i finished blankets....atonement is boring.

atonement is still boring.....but i found this book to be really amazing. barkley, to many, is just a loudmouth that uses his fame to say stupid things. this book shows a different side. even though i'm a minority that is hardly considered in this
Feb 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In some ways I have modeled myself under Charles Barkley. I like the rather transparent and honest way he lives his life. He just speaks his mind and though people may not agree, they just chuckle instead of being offended.

I would like to be a person that can speak my mind freely ... and also welcome people to speak their mind freely to me.

So in the spirit of speaking freely ... this is my review. Charles Barkley came up with the idea of interviewing people on the subject of race. The answers in
Mar 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who want to open their minds
Although this book is not very well written, which made it difficult at times, I enjoyed it. I found that I would walk away from the book and talk about the different things that I had learned. I found that I had gained knowledge which gave me insight to other points of view. The beautiful things about this book is that it offers many different points of view, not just the authors'. I found myself experiencing different emotions with each section that I read. This would be a five-star book if it ...more
Mar 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed by this. Don't get me wrong, Charles Barkley is trying to do a good thing by discussing the issues of race and economics with relevent people (including the likes of Tiger Woods, Barack Obama, Samuel L. Jackson, Jesse Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Bill Clinton, etc.). But, to be completely honest, I really wanted Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man? to feature Barkley spouting off the harsh, insane nonsense he does when he covers basketball games for TNT. I was looking for humor and ...more
Kevin Oldenburg
Apr 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sir Charles is my favorite sports personality, while Michael Wilbon is one-half of the best sports reporting combo on television. So naturally, when these to forces combine I am going to read what they have to say. Charles asks meaningful questions to important figures in pop-culture. I had a great time reading this and imagining how things would sound if Charles was narrating the book. Charles' sit-down interview with then, newly elected senator Barack Obama was very good. In this interview ...more
Charles Barkley interviewed 13 leaders about the issue of race in America. What does it mean in the 21st century and why we are afraid to talk about it. Candid questions that will spark conversations for the reader too.

Why I started it: The title caught my eye as I was shifting books at my library.

Why I finished it: Very interesting, especially the interview of Senator Barack Obama. (This book was published in 2005.) It raising an interesting question at what point do we still have a racial
Buddy Wheeler
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I heard an interview on Talk of the Nation when this book came out. Mr. Barkley was eloquent and really had his finger on the pulse of the state of race relations in our country. This book was very helpful in helping me understand "the other side" of the story. We all have different upbringings but at the end of the day, we are all in this country together. Black, White, Mexican, Asian, Middle Eastern, all of us share a common interest and goal in making America wonderful. A great read.
Feb 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice, easy read. These 'sensitive' issues of race are rarely discussed in public, thus needs to be explored because of its prevalence in our society despite claims saying otherwise. The interview with Tiger Woods reveals the racial tribulations he endured in his life and makes him a true inspiration.
Jul 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Challenge yourself to join the conversation on racism and prejudice! This is not a minority finger pointing exercise. I would highly recommend this to get your juices flowing, and explore your role in this conversation.
Anthony Chouloute
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A must read...Barkeley's stance on racism in America is a very interesting one. His chats with the diverse group of people he interviewed proved to be very enlightning. I recommend anyone and everyone should read this book.
Jen Jen
Apr 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the questions this book raises. I liked how the book is written like a conversation. While I don't agree with everything Barkley says, I believe that the race issue still needs to be addressed.
Stephanie Brown
Nov 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a huge Charles Barkley fan... even if you aren't it's funny.
Dec 03, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the best writing as expected, but a good discussion on race relations. It does offer some interesting vignettes from various minds on the subject of race.
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