While many were lost focusing on President Barack Obama saying ‘nigger’ during his interview on Marc Maron‘s podcast ‘WTF’ (What The Fuck). The president made some interesting comments during the interview.
Maron and Obama touched a number of topics; climate change, relationship with congress, what he has done as president, what he likes to do for fun and of course race relations.
I thought the race relation discussion was the most interesting, and not because he said ‘nigger’ (One thing to keep in mind, in the podcast Maron and Obama jump around a bit in this discussion but for my recap I grouped the discussion together).
With the Charleston Shooting still fresh on his mind, Obama immediately reiterated the points he made in his press conference Thursday. He talked about stronger gun control laws and how the stats show the U.S. sadly leading the way in deaths involving guns (per population). Obama states he still believes that stronger laws can be enacted, but he expressed how deeply saddened he was when nothing was done after Newtown.
While understanding the obstacles that stand in the way of stronger gun control laws, Obama expressed faith in the people. That faith is based on people he has spoken to outside of politics, and identifies politics as the reason for the disconnect.
In discussing police-community relations, Obama started by making the following strong statement:
To young people… Do not say nothing has changed when it comes to race in America, unless you lived thru being a Black man in the 1950s, 60s or 70s…. It’s incontrovertible that race relations have improved significantly and that attitudes have changed, that is a fact!
While acknowledging things have improved he also made sure to note that it doesn’t mean that racism is dead. He stated, “the legacy of Jim Crow casts a long shadow…” As it is still part of our DNA.
The main point for Obama was that he didn’t want people to take for granted the progress we (Black people) have made, and that we need to take that progress and continue to build. Basically, we do not have to tear the whole thing down and start from the beginning.
Concerning police, he acknowledged they have a tough job, and part of the reason the job is so tough is due to those poor communities being, “systematically locked out of opportunity and suffered from legacy of discrimination” and we send cops in to keep those folks from making too much trouble.
Maron quickly followed up asking how do we change that?
Obama responded by focusing on the task force he put together and touting the changes they presented. He also discussed the need to provide hope to the children and giving the people opportunity. He elaborates on the effectiveness of early childhood education and how that has shown to get children to the same levels of a children who are in the middle-class. Unfortunately Obama admits this is not happening in enough areas, and only seeing success in bits and pieces.
As I stated in the beginning the president made some interesting points, but with the media focused on the use of a certain word; we are missing out on another opportunity to explore more important areas that need further discussion.
If there is something to be said, “It’s On Broadway” to step up and say it!!