Obama: U.S. Not Cured of Racism

  • VOA News

    June 23, 2015 08:03

    U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about gun violence during an address to the United States Conference of Mayors in San Francisco on June 19, 2015. /Reuters

    President Barack Obama said the United States has not overcome its history of racism.

    Speaking to comedian Marc Maron in an interview for his podcast, Obama said "racism, we are not cured of it."

    He went on to use the n-word [a racial slur] to make his point, saying it is not just a matter of it not being polite to use the word in public. 

    "That's not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It's not just a matter of overt discrimination,'' Obama added. "Societies don't, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior."

    At the White House briefing Monday, spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama does not regret using the n-word nor is he surprised by the reaction to him using it.

    The president said attitudes about race have changed since he was born to a white mother and black father, but the legacy of slavery still "casts a long shadow."

    He also discussed gun control and his frustration that Congress has not advanced legislation on it. He said he was "pretty disgusted" that Congress did not act after the Sandy Hook shooting when 20 children were shot.

    Earnest said the president was suggesting that the American people come forward and send a signal to Congress that this is a priority.

    Obama said it is important to respect hunting and sportsmanship when it comes to gun ownership in the United States. But, in a reference to Dylann Roof, the suspect in the killing of nine people in Charleston, South Carolina, last week, Obama said there must also be "common-sense stuff" to prevent someone who is deranged, racist, or confused about something from easily getting a gun and causing harm.

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