Speaking to comedian Marc Maron on Maron’s “WTF” podcast, President Obama got about as real as you can possibly get when it comes to addressing the topic of racism, even saying that eliminating racism is about more than not using the N-word in public.
When asked about racism in America, President Obama said:
“We are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger 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.”
The President said the ugly legacy of institutional racism in the United States is partially to blame for the things we see today in our country:
“The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives, you know, that casts a long shadow, and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on.”
He also reflected on the murder of nine people at a historically significant African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, saying that people must decide if they want to change gun control laws in light of the violence they see around them:
“The question is, is there a way of accommodating that legitimate set of traditions with some common-sense stuff that prevents a 21-year-old who is angry about something, or confused about something, or is racist, or is, you know, deranged from going into a gun store and suddenly is packing and can do enormous harm? And that is not something that we have ever fully come to terms with.”
This is one of the advantages of having a President as thoughtful and compassionate as the one we have: He can help all of us better understand the uglier portions of our past and our present and hopefully provide the impetus for us to create a better future.
Listen To The Podcast Here:
President Obama on the Marc Maron “WTF” Podcast
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.