"Societies don't, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior," he told host Marc Maron

By Jacqueline Andriakos
Updated June 22, 2015 07:00 AM
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Credit: Courtesy Marc Maron

President Barack Obama spoke candidly while weighing in on racism and gun control in the wake of last week’s massacre at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, even using the N-word to emphasize his stance.

During a radio interview out Monday with comedian Marc Maron on the popular podcast WTF, Obama said, “The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives, you know, that casts a long shadow, and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on,” adding that “it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say n—– 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,” he continued.

“But I think part of the point that I wanted to make was, it’s not enough to just feel bad,” Obama said. “There are actions that could be taken to make events like this less likely, and one of those actions we could take would be to enhance some basic, commonsense gun safety laws, that, by the way, the majority of gun owners support.”

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POTUS then gave the example of the April 2013 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, after which gun and ammunition sales increased drastically: “Each time that these events occur, ironically, gun manufacturers make out like bandits. Partially because of this fear that the federal government and the black helicopters are all coming to get your guns.”

“The question is, is there a way of accommodating that legitimate set of traditions with some commonsense stuff that prevents a 21-year-old who is angry about something, or confused about something, or is racist, or is, you know, deranged from going into a gun store and suddenly is packing and can do enormous harm? And that is not something that we have ever fully come to terms with.”

But Obama isn’t sure if progress is in the near future, due to Congress’ relationship with the National Rifle Association (NRA).

“Unfortunately, the grip of the NRA on Congress is extremely strong,” Obama told the host.

He went on, “I don’t foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress, and I don’t foresee any real action being taken until the American public feels a sufficient sense of urgency and they say to themselves, ‘This is not normal, this is something that we can change, and we re going to change it.’ ”