Prominent podcaster Marc Maron recently invited the President of the United States to his garage – the first time such a venue has been used to interview a sitting president – for a candid convo about race and violence. It’s a captivatingly human conversation absolutely worth an hour of your time to listen.
The discussion was spurred by recent events in Charleston, weaving between historical context and modern-day racism in the United States to paint a picture of America’s ongoing racial tension and archaic relationship with guns.
A refreshingly sincere POTUS lamented the NRA’s strong grip on Congress; that “there is no other advanced nation on earth that tolerates multiple shootings on a regular basis and considers it normal.” He often called for the application of an obviously absent level of common sense among his population, explained how the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and discrimination has engrained itself into their DNA, and shared a particular moment during his presidency where he felt true disgust for the first time.
Oh, and he dropped the N-bomb:
“Racism, we are not cured of it,” Barack Obama said. “And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say n*gger 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.”
It’s quite the statement from someone who’s meticulously selective with his choice of words and it’s hard to suggest the deep frustration of a man who has to consistently “speak to the country and to a particular community about a devastating loss” – something he’s done “way too often” – should be censored.
Somehow a few corners of the Internet have already turned this into a debate over who has the right to say n*gger, and questioning if it’s appropriate for a head to state to say it. They’re missing the point entirely – that using race as a political or social maneuver is significantly more problematic than language. By the way, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, Chet Hanks.
We’ll just link this bit of brilliance by Louis C.K in case you’re offended.