Advisory: This article contains language some may find offensive.
In an interview with podcaster and comedian Marc Maron, U.S. President Barack Obama spoke candidly about race relations in the United States. During the interview, Obama emphasized there’s more to racial discrimination than politically incorrect language. “Racism, we are not cured of it.” He said. “And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger 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.”
The soundbite will no doubt prove controversial, but social media has already decided it isn’t really a big deal.
Many reactions were positive, complimenting the president for speaking so frankly, or defending his usage in the context of the discussion.
Obama talking racism on @WTFpod was def striking, says we as a country "aren't cured of it." Also dropped the N-word. Pretty candid convo.
— Ashley Lopez (@AshLopezRadio) June 22, 2015
Others sardonically commented on the inevitable controversy the president’s remarks will ignite.
Breaking: Fox News reporters thrilled they get to say the N-word today using the defense "We were just quoting the president."
— The Volatile Mermaid (@OhNoSheTwitnt) June 22, 2015
Cue the think-pieces and hot takes on whether a black American government official can/should use the n-word in media appearances.
— S. (@saratu) June 22, 2015
Most, however, lamented the media focus on the ‘N-Word’, saying the press should cover broader race issues instead.
So the press focuses on obama using the n-word rather than tackling the root causes of racism, speaks volumes for the quality of journalists
— John (@cool_hand_john) June 22, 2015
And at least one Imperial Official was a little confused by the whole thing.
There have been a few negative reactions – but as of this morning, opinions across social media were mostly positive or indifferent. Fans of Marc Maron didn’t even seem to notice the N-Word controversy, instead congratulating the stand-up comedian and podcast host for landing such a prestigious interview.
The president’s comments come days after a race-motivated mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina claimed the lives of nine people. The alleged shooter’s motivation was a hatred of black Americans, part of an ideology laid out in his apparent manifesto. In the days since the tragedy, Obama has been speaking to several media outlets and organizations about the state of race relations and racial discrimination in the United States.
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