President Obama used explicit language to make a point about racism in a candid interview posted online Monday. Talking about America's racial history, he said that it's "incontrovertible" that race relations have improved in his lifetime. But he also offered a blunt critique of the status quo.
"The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives, that casts a long shadow. And that's still part of our DNA that's passed on. We're not cured of it," he told comedian Marc Maron in an interview on his WTF podcast. "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 2-300 years prior."
Obama taped the interview with Maron on Friday; the podcast was released Monday morning.
The hour-long interview also touched on the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, that left nine dead last week. Obama repeated that he has had to address mass shootings "way too often" during the course of his time in office.
"This is unique to our country," he said. "There's no other advanced nation on Earth that tolerates multiple shootings on a regular basis and considers it normal. And to some degree, that's what's happened in this country. It's become something that we expect."