During an interview in a garage with a comedian, President Barack Obama talked about the heavy topics of race relations and gun control, including using the N-word to make his point that more work needs to be done.
Obama made the comment during his appearance on the podcast, “WTF with Marc Maron,” where coarse language is often part of the discussion.
Obama said on the podcast released Monday:
“Racism, we are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say n***** 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.”
*Warning* The video below does not bleep out the derogatory word.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama does not regret use of the word, according to USA Today, and said “the reason that he used the word could not be more apparent from the context of his discussion on the podcast.”
Earnest said Obama did not plan in advance to use the word, saying it resulted from the “free-flowing” nature of interview podcast conducted by Marc Maron. The spokesman also cited the “informal setting” of the interview (Maron’s garage).
While Obama has not used the term publicly during his presidency, he did use it in his 1995 memoir Dreams From My Father when he was referring to himself as being the target of the term.
Obama recorded the comments on Friday, two days after a gunman shot and killed nine people inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Following the shooting, Obama said America needs to “reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence doesn’t happen in other advanced countries,” which was proven false with statistics on other mass shootings.
On the podcast, he said he felt “pretty disgusted” after Congress did “nothing” for gun control after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre 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. I was pretty disgusted.”
During the podcast, Obama continued with stating that progress on race relations has been made.
“I always tell young people, in particular, do not say that nothing has changed when it comes to race in America, unless you’ve lived through being a black man in the 1950s or ’60s or ’70s. It is incontrovertible that race relations have improved significantly during my lifetime and yours.”
But he added that “the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination” exists in institutions and casts “a long shadow and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on.”
You can listen to the full podcast here.