President Obama is worried about Sasha and Malia, as well as his future grandsons, becoming victims of racism and “constant bias.” During an interview with BET, Barack Obama said he fears that his children and grandchildren will be made to feel that America “is not their home.”
The president discussed the state of race relations due to the Eric Garner video, the “I can’t breathe” movement, the Tamir Rice shooting, and the Ferguson riots after the Michael Brown shooting during the BET interview as well.
“I want my children to be seen as the individuals that they are, and I want them to be judged based on the content of their character and their behavior and their talents and gifts,” President Obama told Jeff Johnson of BET. “I don’t want them to be objects of fear simply because of misguided attitudes.”
The president responded to critics in the black community who do not think he is doing enough on the racism front and in regards to police shootings involving young black men. Some of President Obama’s critics on the issue feel that a person who “identifies as black” should be reacting with more outrage towards the Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice deaths.
“Sometimes peoples’ concerns are not based on fact because if you look after what happened with Michael Brown and you look at what happened after Trayvon if you look at the decision after Eric Garner, I’m being pretty explicit about my concern,’ he said, ‘and being pretty explicit about the fact that this is a systemic problem that black folks, and Latinos and others, are not just making this up. I describe it in very personal terms,” Obama said.
The president added that some people in “communities of color” are frustrated by him not coming out and stating plainly what the outcome should have been in the Michael Brown shooting and Darren Wilson grand jury decision, as well as the Eric Garner chokehold death and Dan Pantaleo grand jury decision.
“It is my Justice Department that is investigating these cases. And part of the rule of law is that I’m not putting my fingers, my thumb on the scale of justice.”
Obama went on to claims that what makes racial tension in the United States is “so heartbreaking and frustrating for a lot of folks is the recognition that simply by virtue of color, you’ve got less margin for error. That’s particularly true for black boys.” Expanding on his feelings about the treatment of young black males, the president added, “Young men, teenage boys, sometimes they’re gonna do stupid stuff. That’s true whether they’re white, black, Hispanic, it doesn’t matter.”
President Obama delved further into the behavior or teenage boys and stated that sometimes the “stupid stuff” teenage boys of all races do it “harmless” or “careless,” but ultimately, the teens grow up and “become contributing members of society.”
When referencing future grandsons, Obama added,
“A boy who is a boy, or a young man who is maybe a little confused, maybe makes some mistake, we want them to be given the same benefit of the doubt as any other man would or any other boy would be given.”
What do you think about President Obama’s fear that Sasha, Malia, and his future grandsons will be victims of racism, and his response to the Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice deaths?
[Image via: The White House/Pete Souza/Huffington Post]