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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: ‘Reverse Racism’ Not a ‘Reality’

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar inaugurates a basketball court in Paris on Sept. 26, 2016. (Sipa via AP Images)

WASHINGTON – NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who recently released a book on race relations in the United States, said “reverse racism” is not a “reality.”

During a recent event with Abdul-Jabbar, National Press Club president Thomas Burr read a question submitted by a member of the audience about minorities who are voting for Donald Trump.

“The questioner notes there are plenty of minorities who are actually voting for Trump, and you’re talking about bringing people together and having a conversation. Is it divisive for you to talk about Mr. Trump in the way he does when there are minorities supporting him?” Burr asked Abdul-Jabbar at a Press Club luncheon centered around his book Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White.

“No, I have to speak to the truth that I see,” Abdul-Jabbar responded. “If they have a truth that they see that supersedes this, I’d like to hear about it but it doesn’t bother me. Some people have a different take on the reality around them, so it’s not much you can do about that except explain your take on reality and see what makes sense.”

Burr followed up and asked Abdul-Jabbar about reverse racism in the U.S.

“There are concerns out there about reverse racism. The questioner notes there are plenty of minorities who vilified white people. Can you talk about the validity of the concern about reverse racism in this country?” he asked.

“I don’t know what they’re talking about — reverse racism? There are very few people of color that have any kind of power that would enable them to have a reverse racism program in effect. I don’t know what they can do. It doesn’t seem to be reality to me,” Abdul-Jabbar responded.

Abdul-Jabbar, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention in support of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, shared his reaction to the women who have recently accused Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump of inappropriate sexual conduct.

“Well, I just find it odd that Mr. Trump, for years, bragged about assaulting women and now when these women materialize and say, ‘Yes, you did assault us,’ he’s calling them liars. I wonder who’s telling the lie here. I don’t think it’s the women,” he said.

Abdul-Jabbar also weighed in on “stop and frisk” laws, which Trump has said “worked very well in New York.”

“Those really have only served the purpose of making the lives of people — of minority people — in various communities miserable because these people are stopped dozens of times for no other reason than they live in a high-crime community,” he said.

Burr asked Abdul-Jabbar if he ever had a personal experience with the police that he found troubling. Abdul-Jabbar told the audience he has been stopped on the New Jersey turnpike a few times so the police could see what was in his trunk.

“There must be a number of black men in here who’ve had that similar experience on the New Jersey turnpike. I didn’t get arrested, they didn’t write me a ticket. They just wanted to see what was in my trunk. I guess they thought I had a canon in there or something. But it happened to me a couple of times on the New Jersey turnpike,” he said.