Moral Low Ground

Civil Liberties

Obama: Racism “Deeply Rooted” in American Society

Demonstrators stage a 'die in' during a #BlackLivesMatter protest in Boston's Harvard Square on December 5, 2014 (Tim Pierce)

Demonstrators stage a ‘die in’ during a #BlackLivesMatter protest in Boston’s Harvard Square on December 5, 2014 (Tim Pierce)

Racism is “deeply rooted” in American society and the problem will take considerable time to tackle, President Barack Obama said in a television interview to be aired on Monday.

Racism is “something that is deeply rooted in our society, it’s deeply rooted in our history,” Obama said in the interview for a BET special, “BET News Presents: A Conversation with President Barack Obama,” which will air at 6:00 p.m. on Monday.

“This isn’t going to be solved overnight,” the president said. “But… we have made progress and so it’s important to recognize that as painful as these instances are, we can’t equate what’s happening now with what was happening 50 years ago. If you talk to your parents, grandparents, uncles, they’ll tell you that things are better.”

In the fight against racism, Obama said “you have to recognize that it’s going to take some time and you just have to be steady so that you don’t give up when you don’t get all the way there.”

The gains made over the past decades “give us hope” for a better future, Obama said, noting that “typically progress is in steps, it’s in increments.”

Obama also discussed his meeting with young civil rights activists at the White House last week, a group which included leaders of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, where a grand jury recently declined to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown on August 9.

Protests continued throughout the nation over the weekend, with demonstrators raising their hands and their voices in opposition to police brutality and killing of unarmed black men and boys like Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and others.

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