During a highly anticipated interview with President Barack Obama, “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah asked the outgoing Commander in Chief how he managed to navigate being mixed raced in America.
The interview, which took place during the Dec. 12 telecast, was a nearly 30-minute reflection on Obama’s two terms as the nation’s first Black president.
“We have by no means overcome the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow, colonialism and racism,” Obama said, acknowledging that his presidency was not the end of racism. “But the progress we have made has been real and extraordinary.”
The president said that people who do not experience racism — i.e., white people — can have blind spots. But he added that they may be open-minded enough to want to learn and fight against bigotry if given the chance.
“There is goodness in the majority of people,” Obama says.
But Obama did reveal that he had to use diplomacy at times to get his points about race across. He pointed out that his critics do not understand the delicate balancing act he must pull off.
“Some might say that you’re not fully speaking truth to power because of that diplomacy,” the president states. But he said he didn’t think that appealing to our better natures as people somehow compromises truth when you are diplomatic, though there are times you do have to just call people out.
The outgoing president left a message to Black people about race in America.
“But the challenge we face today when it comes to race is rarely the overt Klansman-styled racism,” the president explains. “It’s typically people got other things they want to talk about.”