President Barack Obama said the United States has not overcome its history of racism and is using the N-word to make his case.
In an interview, Obama weighed in on the debate over race and guns that has erupted after the arrest of a white man for the racially-motivated shooting deaths of nine black church members in Charleston, South Carolina.
“Racism, we are not cured of it,” Obama said. “And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say n****r 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’s remarks came during an interview out Monday with comedian Marc Maron for his popular podcast, where crude language is often part of the discussion.
The president said while attitudes about race have improved significantly since he was born to a white mother and black father, the legacy of slavery “casts a long shadow and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on.”
Obama also expressed frustration that “the grip of the NRA on Congress is extremely strong” and prevented gun control from advancing in Congress after 20 children and six educators were massacred in a Connecticut elementary school in 2012.
“I will tell you, right after Sandy Hook, Newtown, when 20, 6-year-olds are gunned down, and Congress literally does nothing — yes, that’s the closest I came to feeling disgusted,” he said. “I was pretty disgusted.”