Obama: Racism ‘deeply rooted in our society’
President Obama will sit down with BET Networks to discuss calls for criminal justice reform after two controversial grand jury decisions cleared white officers in the death of black men.
In a special segment, “BET News Presents: A Conversation with President Barack Obama,” the president will help find meaningful solutions to unrest after the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner sparked nationwide protests.
“This isn’t going to be solved overnight,” Obama said in an excerpt of the interview to air Dec. 8 at 6 p.m.
The interview, hosted by BET host and TV journalist Jeff Johnson, marks the president’s first network discussion outlining his strategy to investigate the incidents and ways the country can unify during this time.
“This is something that’s deeply rooted in our society, deeply rooted in our history. But the two things that will allow us to solve it: Number one: Is the understanding that we have made progress and so it’s important to recognize that as painful as these instances are, we can’t equate what’s happening now with what was happening 50 years ago. If you talk to your parents, grandparents, uncles, they’ll tell you that things are better,”
Speaking to youth on the music-variety series targeting African Americans, Obama also cited “progress” as the second most critical step.
His speech comes after two weeks of protests that followed two nationally watched decisions against prosecuting white police officers who shot Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Garner in New York.
Garner, 43, died after a white police officer placed him in chokehold while attempting to arrest him in July. Michael Brown, 18, was fatally shot in August.