Tags: kareem abdul-jabbar | racial | equality | racism

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Human Nature May Prevent Racial Equality

(MSNBC)

By    |   Tuesday, 23 Aug 2016 01:56 PM

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said Tuesday he wanted his new book to include hope that there could be solutions on ending racism in the United States, but he is concerned that racial fears may keep that from happening.

"We have to understand what human nature is all about, and how it is common for no matter who you are or what your color is, people who don't look exactly like you cause you to feel a need for caution," Abdul-Jabbar, now an author and columnist, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. 

"It will enable us maybe to slow down and listen to what's being said instead of reacting to our own fears. Fear kills all rational thought."

Abdul-Jabbar said he wrote his new book, "Writings on the Wall: Searching For a New Equality Beyond Black and White," in hopes of reopening a discussion on what it means to be an American.

"I think we have to get back to understanding what the Founding Fathers were all about," Abdul-Jabbar told the program. "They realized that everybody had an opinion and everybody was entitled to their opinion, but they had to agree on some facts and then work from that point onto figuring out a way to put our country together and keep it together."

That process requires Americans to talk with each other with "respect and an open mind," said the basketball star-turned-author, because there is no way for people to understand each other and come to find common ground.

Americans, he continued, are all "our fellow citizens" and "we have to live together."

"It's not like we are going to move to Canada or South America or some place," said Abdul-Jabbar. "We live here. We have to understand each other and get along in a way that enables us to move forward. It requires listening to the other side and finding common ground."

Inequality though, reflects the whole history of the United States, in which certain segments of American society were put behind others, he continued.

"Black Americans are way behind, because they were not allowed to earn money for so long," Abdul-Jabbar said. "After the Civil War, they still were repressed and kept in a position. It is what black Americans have struggled with for so long."

He referred to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s contention that there are many things that need to be done before the United States functions for all.

Abdul-Jabbar, who boycotted the 1968 Olympics, also said Tuesday he respects NBA star and Olympian Carmelo Anthony, who said he cried in an interview after receiving the team's gold medal because there remains a "lot of work to do" to unite the country, according to USA Today

He also told the program that he believes there could be a financial cost to bear by working toward equality, and he fears many people won't want to spend the money.

"I think people don't want to reach in their pockets," Abdul-Jabbar said. "It will be expensive. It will cost a lot. Politicians don't want to tell their constituents, [but] it is a necessary evil."

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NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said Tuesday he wanted his new book to include hope that there could be solutions on ending racism in the United States, but he is concerned that racial fears may keep that from happening.
kareem abdul-jabbar, racial, equality, racism
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2016-56-23
Tuesday, 23 Aug 2016 01:56 PM
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