Obama tough­ens on US racism af­ter killings

Lesotho Times - - International -

WASHINGTON — For a frus­trated Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, last week’s slaugh­ter of nine black church­go­ers proves once again that the United States has yet to ex­or­cise its racist de­mons.

But, just to un­der­line the point, he showed in re­marks re­leased Mon­day that he is not afraid to use a term that most Amer­i­cans would blanch at in an ef­fort to con­vey his frus­tra­tion.

“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,” Amer­ica’s first black pres­i­dent said.

“It’s not just a mat­ter of overt dis­crim­i­na­tion,” he said. “So­ci­eties don’t overnight com­pletely erase ev­ery­thing that hap­pened 200 to 300 years prior.”

Speak­ing to online ra­dio broad­cast “WTF with Marc Maron,” Mr Obama put last week’s mur­der­ous rampage in a black church by a sus­pected young white su­prem­a­cist in the con­text of US history.

“It is in­con­tro­vert­ible that race re­la­tions have im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly dur­ing my life­time and yours, and that op­por­tu­ni­ties have opened up, and that at­ti­tudes have changed,” he said.

“What is also true is the legacy of slav­ery, Jim Crow, dis­crim­i­na­tion in al­most ev­ery in­sti­tu­tion of our lives, you know, that casts a long shadow and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on,” Mr Obama said. “We’re not cured of it.” Such an anal­y­sis might seem ob­vi­ous in the wake of more than a year of racially charged protests trig­gered by al­leged po­lice abuses and the deaths of un­armed black men. But it is nev­er­the­less very un­usual for a US politi­cian to speak so frankly on a topic so many Amer­i­cans are un­com­fort­able with. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Mon­day that Mr Obama did not re­gret us­ing the term.

‘We’re not cured’

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