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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar On Race And Law Enforcement: 'We Ask Too Much' Of Police04:28
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar attends the "Kareem: Minority Of One" New York Premiere at Time Warner Center on Oct. 26, 2015 in New York City. (Brad Barket/Getty Images)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar attends the "Kareem: Minority Of One" New York Premiere at Time Warner Center on Oct. 26, 2015 in New York City. (Brad Barket/Getty Images)
This article is more than 3 years old.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, retired NBA legend and author, is just one of many celebrities attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Along with being selected by Hillary Clinton to be a global cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department, Abdul-Jabaar is known as a frequent commentator on race and politics.

He joins Here & Now's Robin Young to weigh in on the future of race and policing.
Hear more of Here & Now's coverage from the Democratic National Convention.
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Interview Highlights: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

On race relations and police-community relations

"I think that we have to acknowledge that racism is institutionalized in our criminal justice system. We have to do what we can to ameliorate that. White Americans can count on doing, having better results from birthrates to the prison pipeline. People of color have a harder time getting mortgage money. All of these things compound to make lives very difficult, and impossible for people to keep pace."

On policing in America

"We ask so much of them. We ask too much of them. They have to go out and do a whole lot of jobs that society doesn’t want to deal with. The whole idea that mental health is such an expensive issue, we’re not going to deal with it.

When mentally ill people finally go over the edge the cops are there. It drops in their lap. They take these people to prison, and they finally get the help that they’ve been needing. That shouldn’t be their job."

On the combination of mental health and racial disparity

"That’s always an issue. The fact that the people see the disparity in the way they’re being treated. They know they’re being discriminated against. They want to lash out against it. It’s only natural, and it ends up in somebody's unfortunate incident. We have to try to eliminate that kind of thing."

Guest

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, political activist and former basketball player. He tweets @kaj33.

This segment aired on July 27, 2016.

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