He said what?
On the face of it, President Barack Obama’s use of the ‘N’ word in an interview released Monday seems out of character for a man who has made strenuous efforts to avoid provocative statements on race and to ensure that the color of his own skin does not dominate his presidency.
The White House insists that Obama didn’t set out to shock when he told comedian Marc Maron on his podcast that though race relations had improved over his lifetime, the United States was not “cured” of racism.
“It’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public,” Obama said.
Obama’s choice of words was jarring because he has gingerly picked his way through a string of political minefields over the last six-and-a-half years, thrown up by a series of racially charged episodes, from the killing of black teenager Trayvon Martin to the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and, more recently, Baltimore.