On Monday, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant took to social media to weigh-in on black culture, encouraging the African American community to take "individual accountability" instead of dwelling on the past and blaming white people. The football star also questioned why black culture tends to condemn "sophisticated" black folks as "not being 'black enough.'"
"First and foremost, I would like to say I do a great job of minding my own business, but it’s pressing on my heart to share my thoughts about white Americans and black Americans (racism)," he began.
Bryant then invoked NBA legend Charles Barkley, agreeing with his past controversial remarks concerning black culture:
I saw a person quote Charles Barkley when he said, “We as black people, we’re never going to be successful not because you white people, but because of other black people.”
I hate to admit it, but I understand that quote.
Barkley made the comment during a 2014 interview on a Philly radio show. "Unfortunately, as I tell my white friends, we as black people, we're never going to be successful, not because of you white people, but because of other black people," said the basketball great. "When you're black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from other black people. It's a dirty, dark secret; I'm glad it's coming out."
The Cowboy continued, explaining that he's been profiled in the past "but not once has it influenced an ill feeling inside me about anyone outside of that issue."
"REAL SLAVERY is different from what’s going on in our world now. We all (every ethnicity) have the opportunity to lead by EXAMPLE," he added.
"Instead of making videos about the history of racism that get applause or people with influence merely doing things to post for social media," said Bryant, "we should focus on individual accountability to be better as a whole."
Recalling an unexpected meet-up with a man he grew up with who chose a life of drug dealing, Bryant explained that the man told him "he wished that he chose a different and better path. He said seeing my success was inspiring and that it encouraged him to do better with his life."
This prompted a few questions from the athlete: "What is wrong with being sophisticated and black? Why do we associate those who choose the straight-and-narrow as not being 'black enough?' Why was it that I was one of the first examples of success to my friend?" he asked.
"We focus hard on fighting the realities that exist instead of creating our own reality," added Bryant. "The ones who came for us (Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X) paved a new path for us to follow. The struggles and hurt they endured created new life for us today.
"It is not our job to carry the burden, but it is our job to lead by example," he wrote.
"Not that my opinion matters," stated Bryant, "I’m just sharing my thoughts."