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Obama candid on racism: 'We are not cured of it'

By Andrew V. Pestano
Obama candid on racism: 'We are not cured of it'
President Barack Obama pauses as he makes a comment on the church shootings that killed nine people in Charleston, S.C., during a statement June 18. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

PASADENA, Calif., June 22 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama spoke about his upbringing, the Charleston church shooting and openly discussed racial slurs as a measure of racism during a candid podcast interview about race.

Obama joined WTF Podcast host Marc Maron in Maron's home garage in Pasadena, Calif. The interview took place Friday and was released Monday.

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"Racism, 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," Obama said.

Obama also spoke about his upbringing as an African American.

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"Right around 20... I started figuring out that a lot of the ideas that I had taken on about being a rebel, or being a tough guy or being cool were really not me," Obama said. "That's an important moment in my life, although also a scary one because then you start realizing, well, I actually have to figure out what I really do believe and what is important and who am I really... a lot of that revolved around issues of race."

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On the topic of the Charleston, S.C., church shooting, where nine people were gunned down during a Bible study session on Wednesday, Obama continued his call for the United States to take action to prevent gun crimes.

"It's not enough just to feel bad. There are actions that could be taken to make events like this less likely, and 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," Obama said. "Unfortunately, the grip of the NRA on Congress is extremely strong. I don't foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress, and I don't foresee any real action being taken until the American public feels a sense of urgency."

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Obama on Thursday said he felt a "deep sorrow" over the "senseless murders that took place."

Obama said his family knew several members of the Emanuel AME Church, including South Carolina state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, one of the dead who served as pastor of the church.

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