Obama, in podcast, uses N-word to make point on racism

23 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Beyond The N-Word: The Best Of President Obama’s Interview On Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast.

Podcaster Marc Maron landed what is easily the interview of his career when President Barack Obama stopped by the comedian’s Highland Park home garage on June 19 for a stripped down conversation on his WTF podcast about race, gun violence, comedy and absentee fathers.

WASHINGTON — President Obama used a racial slur to underscore his point that, while the United States has made great progress on race relations, more work needs to be done, his spokesman said Monday. Here the star and creator of IFC’s comedy Maron offers a play by play of what happened before the interview (which, by the way, had been solicited by Obama’s team), the talking points that most surprised him, the crushing blow of the Charleston tragedy, why the media is misinterpreting the president’s use of the N-word, and why Maron’s comedian pal Louis CK is feeling pretty good about himself today. The hour-long interview touches on a host of issues both on personal and professional levels for Obama, but the most salient sound bites pertain to the the increasingly fragile state of race relations in America.

During a podcast taped last week, just days after the mass killings at an African-American church in Charleston, S.C., Obama said the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow too often remain in the nation’s DNA. During the course of my presidency, it feels as if, couple times a year I end up having to speak to the country and to speak to a particular community about a devastating loss…It’s not enough just to feel bad—there are actions that could be taken to make events like this less likely. While Obama has not used the term publicly during his presidency, the young lawyer and community did use it in his 1995 memoir Dreams From My Father — noting he was often the target of the term.

I don’t know that this is something I learned, but it is something that has been confirmed: The American people are overwhelmingly good, decent, generous people…Everybody that I meet believes in a lot of the same things…They believe in honesty and family and community and looking out for one another. They very rarely think in terms of, “Well, that’s a Republican, so I don’t like that person” or “That’s a Democrat—I don’t like that person.” That’s not how folks organize their lives.

And part of that has to do with gerrymandering and super PACs and lobbyists and a media that is so splintered now that we’re not in a common conversation. Piece of cake.” But the president left the Hilton and then went to Santa Monica airport and took a chopper to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena so he didn’t stranglehold the city traffic-wise more than it already was. I told them I locked my cats in the bedroom and they said, “OK, we will do that room by hand so you don’t have to cage them up.” Monkey and Lafonda were thinking, “Who are these people?

I’m not sure how much he’d listened, but I think he might have been surprised that it wasn’t a lightweight fluff interview; that I was capable of shouldering some harder topics. The stuff about his father not being present and how his family didn’t demonize him gave Obama some distance from the reality of his father’s weaknesses, allowed him to become his own man without falling victim to some of what his father experienced. But it was interesting because were were having a very nice, “Hey what’s up this and that,” chat and I wanted to get the Charleston stuff out at the beginning, which may or may not have been the right idea.

In my world, we talk about words a lot, so it didn’t register to me like “What just happened??” I think that it’s now being taken out of context is a disservice to the larger point. I don’t care how cynical you are, or what side you’re on any of that stuff, but there’s something that struck in me as an American about doing this, and I’m going to honor that.

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