America is not yet "cured" of racism, President Obama said during a podcast interview released today, and he used the N-word to make his point. "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," Obama said during WTF With Marc Maron. He explained that racism isn't just tied to "overt discrimination," but also the more insidious, everyday events that take place and continue the cycle. "Societies don't, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior," he added. Still, he did note that it is "incontrovertible that race relations have improved significantly during my lifetime and [that of young people]," CNN reports.
The POTUS has used the polarizing word before, according to a statement released by the White House—at least a "dozen times" in his book Dreams From My Father, per deputy press secretary Eric Schultz. Another topic broached in the podcast: gun control, which the president doesn't see being helped along by legislation anytime soon because "the grip of the NRA on Congress is extremely strong," he said. "Right after Sandy Hook, Newtown, when 20 6-year-olds are gunned down, and Congress literally does nothing—yes, that's the closest I came to feeling disgusted," he said, per CBS News. (Tom Hanks' son apparently didn't get the "don't use the N-word" memo.)