I've gotone more question for you.
Um... this isa personal question.
-Yeah.-It's a little bit selfish.
Um... I look up to you, becausewe share a lot in common.
We both have parentswho are black and white.
Uh, both half African.
South Side of Chicago.South side of Africa.
-In and around race...-Yeah.
when you are a personwho has a platform,
-Right.-when you are in a space
where you are engagingwith people...
it is often difficult...
to navigate and skirt that line
-Yeah.-between speaking your mind
-Right. -and sharing your...your true opinions on race,
whilst at the same timenot being seen to alienate
some of the peopleyou are talking to.
-Right. -You know, becauseif you are a white person
who's speaking about race,then you are just a person
-who is interested in race.-Right.
If you are a person of colorwho's speaking about it,
it's, like, "Oh,the black thing started again."
the question I'vealways wanted to know is,
-Yeah.-how did you navigate that?
'Cause we watched you do it,but I always wanted to know
how you navigated thatthrough your two terms.
my general theory
uh, is that...
if I was clear in my own mind
about who I was,comfortable in my own skin,
and... had clarity
about the way in which race
continues to be...
this powerful factor inso many elements of our lives,
but that itis not the only factor
in so many aspects of our lives,
we... have by no means
overcome the legacies
of slavery and Jim Crow
and colonialism and racism,
but that the progress we've madehas been real
Uh, if I'm communicatingmy genuine belief
those who are not...
uh, subject to racism
uh, can sometimeshave blind spots,
or, uh, lack appreciationof what it feels
to be on the receiving endof that,
but that doesn't mean thatthey're not open to learning
caring aboutequality and justice,
and that I can...
uh... win them over,
because there's goodnessin the majority of people.
If I... I always feltthat if I really knew that
and I just communicated itas clearly as I could,
that I'd be okay.
Um, another wayof saying this is
there's not been a timein my public life
or my presidency,where I feel as if
I have had to bite my tongue.
There have been times in mypublic life where I've said,
how do I say thisdiplomatically?
How do I say this,as you indicated,
in a way that it's received.
So there, there...
have been very few instanceswhere I've said,
well, that was racist,you are racist.
There have been timeswhere I've said,
you know, you might nothave taken into account...
uh, the, uh...
the ongoing legacy of,of, uh, of racism
in why we have so many
black men incarcerated.
And since I know
that you believein the constitution,
and believe in justiceand believe in liberty,
um, how about if we try this?
Now, some might say
well, you're not speaking fullytruth to power
-because of that diplomacy.-Yes.
But, you know,
I don't think that, um,
trying to appeal to the betterangels of our nature,
as Lincoln put it,
uh, is somehow compromise.
There may be times where...
uh, you just have tocall things out
and name names.
But the challenge we face today,
when it comes to race,
rarely the overt,
uh, uh, racism,
and typically has more to do
with the fact that,
you know, people got other stuffthey want to talk about,
and it's sort of uncomfortable.
somebody not getting called backfor an interview,
-although it's never explicit.-Mm-hmm.
Or it's, you know,
who gets the TV acting job?
The actress who doesn't quitelook the part,
and what does that mean.
In-in that environment,
where you'renot talking necessarily
about cut-and dried,
uh, racist behavior,
but ratherabout the complex ways
in which society is workingthese issues through,
uh, you know,trying to reach folks
in ways that they can hear,
I think, is, uh, is important.
And, I would add,
everybody's got a different roleto play.
Um, you know, if Chris Rock'sdoing standup,
then there is a benefit to him
doing somethingthat is different
from the president of the UnitedStates doing something.
For one thing, you know,
he doesn't have to, uh,edit his language
(laughing):quite as carefully,
because I am still subject to,
you know, some restraints...
You still got yourlast few days.
...on-on those seven words
-George Carlin talked about.-Yes.
See, I-I can't use those,
uh, as a general proposition,
because a lot of childrenare watching.
I try to comport myself in a way
my mother would approve of.
Well, I just want to saythank you so much
for being on the show.
Thank you for beingan inspiration,
and, most importantly,thank you
for giving me an opportunity tosee what I would look like
after eight years of thetoughest job in the world.
You know,I-I will say that I resent
how youngand good looking you are,
'cause, uh, I used to thinkof myself in those terms,
and, uh, it's been downhillfor quite some time.
-Thank you, sir.-Thank you, man.
-Thank you very much.-Appreciate it.