Barack Obama is usually considered to be a pretty mild-mannered guy, but don’t mistake his diplomacy for passivity. The former president is a man of strong convictions and, while we might not see him lash out in anger, that doesn’t mean he never gets upset.
This was especially true in his younger years when it seems that he had a harder time keeping his temper in check. One altercation even led him to break someone’s nose after a friend of his called him a racial slur.
“It’s one of those things where he might not even known what a c*** was,” Obama said on his new podcast with Bruce Springsteen, Renegades: Born in the USA (via People). “What he knew was, ‘I can hurt you by saying this.’ I remember I popped him in the face and broke his nose… It was just reactive; I said, ‘What?!’ and I popped him. He was like, ‘Why’d you do that?’ and I explained to him, I said, ‘Don’t you ever call me something like that.'”
Barack Obama frequently speaks out against racism
Over the years, Obama has been open about the discrimination he has experienced throughout his life and has regularly addressed the issue of racism. “It is incontrovertible that race relations have improved significantly during my lifetime… and that opportunities have opened up, and that attitudes have changed,” he said on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast in 2015 (via NPR). “That is a fact. What is also true is that 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. We’re not cured of it.”
Obama added that he is hopeful about the future. “If we made as much progress over the next 10 years as we have over the last 50, things would be better,” he said. “And that’s within our grasp, it’s available to us.”
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