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Obama: US Not Cured of Racism


U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about gun violence during an address to the United States Conference of Mayors in San Francisco, June 19, 2015.

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about gun violence during an address to the United States Conference of Mayors in San Francisco, June 19, 2015.

President Barack Obama says the United States has not overcome its history of racism.

Speaking to comedian Marc Maron in an interview for his podcast, Obama said "racism, we are not cured of it."

He went on to use the n-word [a racial slur] to make his point, saying it is not just a matter of it not being polite to use the word 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,'' Obama added.

The president said attitudes about race have changed since he was born to a white mother and black father, but the legacy of slavery still "casts a long shadow."

He also discussed gun control and his frustration that Congress has not advanced legislation on it. He said he was "pretty disgusted" that Congress did not act after the Sandy Hook shooting when 20 children were shot.

Obama said it is important to respect hunting and sportsmanship when it comes to gun ownership in the United States. But, in a reference to Dylann Roof, the suspect in the killing of nine people in Charleston, South Carolina, last week, Obama said there must also be "common-sense stuff" to prevent someone who is deranged, racist, or confused about something from easily getting a gun and causing harm.

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