In the wake of the Charleston, SC shootings, President Obama gave one of his most candid interviews about racism in America. Listen to the podcast inside and get updates on Charleston, including the Carolina Pathers owner’s huge donation. Also, see the Governor of SC speaking about the Confederate Flag.
As the nation grapples with the aftermath of the Charleston, SC shootings, President Obama appeared on Marc Maron’s popular WTF podcast for a very candid conversation with about his college days, fitting in as a biracial person, race relations, gun violence, changing the status quo, fatherhood and overcoming fear.
Right now, the podcast is making national headlines because the POTUS drops the “N” word…but that’s not the point of the conversation. During the chat (which clocks in over an hour) President Obama spoke openly and honestly about racism and how some things have changed and some haven’t.
On Racism: 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. We are not cured of it,” 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.”
Is America racist: “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.”
On the Charleston, SC shootings and gun laws: “It’s not enough just to feel bad. There are actions that could be taken to make events like this less likely. One of those actions we could take would be to enhance some basic common sense gun safety laws. Unfortunately, the grip of the NRA on Congress is extremely strong. I don’t foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress.”
On his legacy, and remaining optimistic: “I know what I’m doing and I’m fearless. ‘ve screwed up. I’ve been in the barrel tumbling down Niagara Falls. And I emerged and I lived. And that’s always such a liberating feeling.”
Listen to WTF in full here:
President Obama and Vice President Biden will travel to Charleston this week to attend the funeral services for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who also served as a state Senator. The POTUS will deliver the eulogy for the fallen Democrat. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Friday at TD Arena at the College of Charleston. Interment will follow at St. James AME Church of Marion. Story.
In other news….
Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson donated $10,000 to each of the families of the nine people killed in Wednesday night’s shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The $100,000 donation was made in a letter sent Friday to the Mother Emanuel Hope fund. The letter was shared by Bakari Sellers, a Democratic member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, on Twitter.
Team spokesperson Steven Drummond said, “We don’t want to comment on the specifics of the donation, but know our hearts are one with those who grieve the loss of these individuals.”
In the letter, Jerry identified each of the victims: Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., and Myra Thompson.
He wrote that the money was to help “defray funeral costs and other financial needs of each.”
In other Charleston, SC updates, there is currently a national debate about the Confederate flag and its presence as a symbol of racism. Moments ago, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds. This is HUGE.
Gov. Haley “It’s time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds. On matters of race, South Carolina has a tough history. We don’t need reminders.”
And surprisingly, the “call” is getting lots of support.
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, also called for removing the flag.
“Now is the time to do what is right, and I support the call by Governor Haley and South Carolina leaders to remove the Confederate battle flag from state house grounds. This flag has become too divisive and too hurtful for too many of our fellow Americans.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the flag “continues to be a painful reminder of racial oppression to many” and that “the time for a state to fly it has long since passed.”
Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley Jr., a Democrat said
“The flag got appropriated by hate groups. We can’t put it in a public place where it can give any oxygen to hate-filled people.”
This is an issue that is JUST igniting. And it’s about time. We will keep you up-to-date on developments in both Charleston and around the country. The issue of “Race” in America will no longer be swept under the rug.
Photos via Bakari Sellers Twitter/WTF Podcast Twitter