President Barack Obama had quite a few busy days last Thursday and Friday. From addressing the nation after the Charleston shootings, to DNC events he attended in El Lay, the President’s plate was pretty full.
He did manage to find time though to have an extended conversation on the WTF With Marc Maron podcast.
Over the course of an hour, he touched on quite a few topics including his past, being President, gun control, and perhaps most controversially, racism in the United States.
When talking about curing racism in today’s society, Obama said something we’ve never heard him say before:
“We are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say n****r in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.”
This is the first time we’ve heard him use the slur aloud, though it does appear in his book Dreams From My Father.
This portion of the conversation of course tied in to current events, not just because racism still exists, but because it’s what fueled the horrible attack in Charleston by Dylann Roof last week. Obama said of the shooting:
“During the course of my presidency, it feels as if a couple times a year, I end up having to speak to the country and speak to a particular community about a devastating loss and the grieving that the country feels is real…but I think part of the point that I wanted to make is it’s not enough just to feel bad. There are actions that could be taken to make events like this less likely. One of those actions we could take would be to enhance some basic common sense gun safety laws, that, by the way the majority of gun owners support. Unfortunately, the grip of the NRA on Congress is extremely strong. I don’t foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress.”
Though it could be seen as shocking or startling to hear the racial slur used — especially from a figurehead and leader — Obama uses it to make a very distinct and valid point.
The existence or frequency of the use of the word does not exemplify how rampant racism is in the US, but rather just a by-product of the underlying feelings within some people that have been passed down through the generations.
We definitely think Obama is on point with this message and hope that it brings more awareness to an obvious flaw in our society.
Listen to the clip in the video (below) and let us know what you think!
[Image via Marc Maron Instagram.]