A podcast interview with Barack Obama has left many mouths gaping with the US president’s use of the urban slang term ‘nigger’.
During his talk which aired on Monday with host Marc Maron of WTF with Marc Maron Obama stated, “Racism, we are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public.”
Race problems are currently at the forefront of US society. This past year has seen racial violence mount with 2014’s police riots in Ferguson, Missouri and recent riots in Baltimore, Maryland, where locals took to the streets to protest the death of a young black man in police custody. Last week a white man killed nine African-Americans in a church in South Carolina.
Despite this recent violence, Obama said in the podcast, “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.”
According to the White House, Obama has previously publicly stated this controversial word. “Truth is,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said, “he uses the term about a dozen times in Dreams from my Father.”
The word nigger is said to be used 500,000 times a day on Twitter. There have even been public attempts to ban the word. In 2007, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) attempted to have a mock funeral to bury it.