President Barack Obama used the n-word during a recent visit to comedia Marc Maron’s podcast “WTF with Marc Maron” when he discussed the reality of racism. During the podcast, the president made remarks about the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and gun control.

Although Obama said progress has been made, we have a long way to go.

“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,” Obama said.

“Racism, we are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public,” Obama said. “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.”

But of course the media took that one line and ran with it without looking at the context it was said.

What the president said about race was true. And the events over the last week definitely prove him right. When you’re living in 2015, and you still having black people fight for their rights, crazed racist lunatics running into churches and shooting them up, you can’t compare the U.S to a pack of Virginia Slims and say that “We’ve come a long way baby”.

Racism isn’t going anywhere, it’s a sad and realistic reality. As long as the Dylann Roofs of the world roam free, as long as social media and the internet is around to provide a new breeding ground for racists and as long as the government refuses to accept their role in it, it’s not going anywhere.

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  • Me

    i always wonder what people mean by telling young folks “do not say that nothing has changed when it comes to race in America”… so b/c we’re not being attacked w/water hoses & dogs, young folks shouldn’t be just as mad or shouldn’t feel as afraid or shouldn’t demand more? what’s the point in telling young folks that it’s not the 50s if not to silence their movement?

    • Brad

      I don’t think that is the reasoning behind making the statement. I don’t think it is about silencing anyone but, more about reminding the younger generation of the many obstacles that have been removed for them by our elders.

      ….and now that many of those obstacles have been removed, they should take every advantage given to them.

      In many ways myself I think it actually works against the younger black generation. Not having to weather some of the storm our elders had to weather.

    • Me

      if that’s the case, then how is that comment relevant? if it’s not to silence the young folks movement, then it’s to talk down to young folks about not living up to his expectations, which is not a motivating tool. how does it help young folks to get anywhere by minimizing what they have to say?

    • Brad

      It is simply stating a fact and the President is hardly the first or only to say it.

      In fact I hardly hear anyone starting off a conversation with out making the point of. “We have come a long way but, that does not mean we don’t have a long way to go”.

      History and progress and the tactics used to achieve such progress are always relevant. Many times I hear young people talking as if, there was no struggle, no sacrifice, no victories before they came along.

    • Me

      i didn’t hear the whole podcast so i only have the blurb in the article to go by. i’ve heard older folks use this kinda language a lot to invalidate how hard it is for young folks. i just think it doesn’t advance the cause to compare who’s struggle was harder when the struggle ain’t nearly over.

    • Brad

      Young people will end up leading the movement and winning multiple victories in the movement.

      They always do….

      …and yes you are right in that some of the elders should be more caring, respectful, and open to the views and tactics of the younger generation.

    • Qris_10

      Also I think the motivation lies in the fact that young people can see that their elders fought hard to achieve what they did and not only should they respect and pay homage to that, they should also use that as inspiration to keep going. Look how far we have come indeed, b/c of them and their fight. I think the last thing older people are trying to do is use these facts to tear down the spirit of revolution

  • People have debated this issue today. Here are my thoughts. In this context, the President was not trying to glamorize the word. He was expressing an example of how racism has not been eliminated totally in American society. We have a long way to go. We see some progress, but economic inequality has grown. The 2007 recession has stripped a large part of black wealth. We see not only covert racism, but overt racism in many ways from the SAE Fraternity incident to the brutalization of our Brothers and our Sisters. Morally, I can’t use the N word not even in trying to establish context. I wish he would say the “N word,” but I do realize that Obama was trying to make a conceptual point. Another point is to be mentioned too. We know the point. You know what I’m going to type. There were many Presidents who used the N word out of malice, hate, and as way for them to express bigotry. Nixon used the N word out of hate. Truman used the N word out of hate as well. LBJ used the N word a lot as well. It’s a despicable word that no one should be using (regardless of someone’s skin color). As for the youth, many young people know what time it is and realize the necessity to fight for social justice. The older and younger generation should always appreciate each other in an unifying fashion.

  • binks

    The president has been falling short lately to me when it comes to his speeches and interviews about race in America and the plight of black people but this case is not it. I personally, see his point and agree the point he was trying to make overall. I don’t understand why the world and media are going crazy. In the context he used it and his overall point using the N word made sense. Honestly, this seem much to do about nothing. I love how people is focusing on this word and not ALL his words.


    Well, like Drake he’s half-Black. So, he gets away with it??? Maybe he should’ve said the N-word instead of saying it out loud (nigger)???

    Honestly, he used the dreaded N-bomb to make a point. No need to cry over it.