'American Race': Charles Barkley On Decision To Interview Richard Spencer, 'I Want To Know My Enemies'

Jen Craft

Teasers for the new Charles Barkley docu-series, American Race, have piqued interest in the show after revealing that white nationalist Richard Spencer was one of the persons interviewed by Barkley in his quest to understand race relations in America.

"I am glad we had him on the show because I want to know who my enemies are."
"There are a lot of people who think like him and we don't even know they are around. I don't like this dude, obviously, but he doesn't hide behind it. There are so many people in America who think like him but we don't know who they are."
"We thought long and hard about it. In the end, we were convinced that it was more important to shine a light."

Richard Spencer has been described as a clean-cut version of old-school white supremacists. As the Inquisitr reported earlier this year, Spencer used the momentum behind Donald Trump's shocking election victory to advance his views and beliefs.

In that same Sports Illustrated interview, Barkley said that continued "negative stereotypes of minorities on television" were the catalyst for the project.

"If you are black on television, you are probably going to be some kind of thug, gangster or portrayed in a negative light. If you are some type of Muslim, you are going to be blowing stuff up. If you are Hispanic you are going to be some type of gangbanger. I've felt like this for years."

Some of those interviewed for the project include Ice Cube, Korean-American rapper Dumbfoundead, Baltimore attorney William H. Murphy, and Texas restaurant owner Sharmina Zaidi.

While Barkley's intentions may have been good, some have questioned whether or not Barkley was the right person to host the series.

In their review of the series, The Root compared Barkley to a family member that no one wants to discuss important issues with at family gatherings; instead, limiting your conversations to "sports, Gap Band songs and brown liquor."

The article pointed out that Barkley's previous comments on the subject of police and race relations, as well as his ongoing criticisms of the black community, showed that Barkley lacked credibility to be a fair and positive voice for African Americans.

Reaction on Twitter appeared to back up The Root's assessment.

The series will air the first two episodes tonight on TNT. The network will air the remaining two episodes tomorrow night. For those who can't wait, the show is currently available for viewing on TNT's website.

What do you think? Was Charles Barkley a good choice to host a series focused on the topic of race relations in America? Should he have interviewed Richard Spencer? Will you watch American Race?

[Featured Image by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for TNT]