Barack Obama is opening up about his childhood experiences with racism. In the second episode of his recently released Renegades: Born in the United States Podcast with Bruce Springsteen, the former president recounted the moment he got into a fight with a former friend who called it a racial slur.
Listen, when I was in school, I had a friend. We play basketball together, ”he began. “And once we got into a fight and he called me ac ** n. Now first of all, there are no whores in Hawaii, right? It’s one of those things where you might not even have known what crap was. What he knew was, ‘I can hurt you by saying this.’
The former commander-in-chief did not take the incident lightly and a fight broke out.
“I remember I hit him in the face and broke his nose, and we were in the locker room,” he told Springsteen. “I explained, I said, ‘Never call me that. I may be poor. I may be ignorant. I may be bad. I may be ugly. I may not like myself. I may be unhappy, but you know What am I not? I am not you. ‘
Obama has not been one of those who shy away from talking about race. In June of last year, he wrote an essay on Means, medium on enacting change amid protests over George Floyd’s death.
“I recognize that these past few months have been hard and discouraging, that the fear, sadness, uncertainty and hardships of a pandemic have been compounded by tragic reminders that prejudice and inequality still shape much of life. American, “Obama wrote. “But watching the rise of youth activism in recent weeks, every race and every season, gives me hope. If, in the future, we can channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained and effective action, then this moment may be a true turning point in our nation’s long journey to live up to our highest ideals. “
The father of two said that change will depend on “a new generation”, adding that history can provide “basic lessons” worth remembering.
Watch the video below to hear the message of hope that Obama sent shortly after the protests.