President Barack Obama had a message for the racial discontents of America: Don't ignore how far we've come.
Asked by CNN's Candy Crowley about issues of race and policing in America in a Sunday morning interview, Obama acknowledged that with his mixed racial heritage, he occupies a fairly unique place in American race relations, and he said that, while he empathizes with those outraged over the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, some protesters are ignoring the real progress that has been made in the U.S. — and that omission is damaging.
“There’s no reason for folks to be patient [on improving racial issues]," Obama said. "I’m impatient.”
But, Obama said progress hinges on honesty:
I think an unwillingness to acknowledge that progress has been made [in race relations] cuts off the possibility of further progress. If critics want to suggest that America is inherently and irreducibly racist, then why bother even working on it? I’ve seen change in my own life, so has this country. And those who will deny that I think actually foreclose the possibility of further progress rather than advancing it.
He also addressed American policing, saying:
When you look at what’s happened in law enforcement across the country over the last several years, that’s not news to African-Americans. What’s different is simply that some of it is now videotaped and people see it. And the question then becomes, you know, what practical steps can we take to solve this problem. I believe that the overwhelming majority of white americans, as well as African Americans, want to see this problem solved. So I have confidence that by surfacing these issues, we’re going to be able to make progress on them.
Watch the clip below:
As Mediaite noted, the interview aired Sunday but was taped on Friday, before the weekend shootings of two police officers in New York and one officer in Florida.
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