Not using 'N word' doesn't cure US of racism - Obama
Published 23/06/2015 | 02:30
President Obama has said that America has not overcome its history of racism and employed the N-word to make his case.
In an interview, Mr 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," Mr Obama said.
"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."
Mr Obama's remarks came during an interview aired yesterday 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".
Mr Obama also expressed frustration that "the grip of the NRA [National Rifle Association] on Congress is extremely strong" and prevented gun control from advancing in Congress after 20 children and six staff members were massacred in a Connecticut elementary school in 2012.
"I will tell you, right after Sandy Hook, Newtown, when 20 six-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."
He said it was important to respect that hunting and sportsmanship are important to a lot of gun-owning Americans. "The question is just 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 deranged from going into a gun store and suddenly is packing, and can do enormous harm," Mr Obama said, in a reference to Charleston suspect Dylann Storm Roof.
Roof faces nine counts of murder in connection with Wednesday's shooting.