President Barack Obama spoke bluntly about racism in a conversation with comedian Marc Maron for his "WTF" podcast.
"We are not cured of it," Obama told Maron on the podcast, which was recorded last week in Los Angeles but released Monday. "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."
Obama reflected on the murder of nine people at a prayer service at a historically black church last week, repeating his previous comments that "no other advanced nation on Earth" considers these incidents normal.
“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," Obama said.
Obama also noted again that something can be done "to make events like this less likely," including passing common-sense gun control laws. While admitting "the grip of the NRA on Congress is extremely strong," Obama also said the American public needs to feel a sense of urgency on gun control before lawmakers will make any changes.
“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?" Obama said. "And that is not something that we have ever fully come to terms with.”
To listen to the full podcast, go here.
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