Erin Tessa, Western Journalism, December 13, 2016
President Obama says the United States has “by no means overcome the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow and colonialism and racism,” but the nation has made “real and extraordinary” progress when it comes to race.
During an interview with Trevor Noah of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show that aired Monday, Obama was asked how he is able to speak about race issues while “not being seen to alienate some of the people you are talking to.”
“You know,” Noah said, “because if you are a white person who’s speaking about race, then you are just a person who’s interested in race. If you are a person of color who’s speaking about it, it’s like ‘Oh, the black thing started again.’ … How did you navigate that?”
The president said, “Those who are not subject to racism can sometimes have blind spots or lack of appreciation of what it feels to be on the receiving end of that, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not open to learning and caring about equality and justice,” adding he believed he could “win them over because there is goodness in the majority of people.”
“There have been very few instances where I’ve said, ‘Well that was racist. You are racist.’ There have been times where I’ve said, ‘You know, you might not have taken into account the ongoing legacy of racism in why we have so many black men incarcerated. And since I know that you believe in the Constitution and believe in justice and believe in liberty, how about if we try this?’”
Obama said subtle racism is the main problem now.