With his political obligations in the rearview, our forever President Barack Obama has settled into a comfy life of content creation.
The production company he founded, Higher Ground Productions, with the love of his life has blessed us with films like American Factory and Crip Camp, as well as popular podcasts like The Michelle Obama Podcast and Renegades: Born in the USA, co-hosted by Obama and legendary rocker Bruce Springsteen.
But even though he’s no longer in the Oval Office on a daily basis, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t keep abreast of current events or important issues. Specifically, the social justice movements that have found renewed vigor in the aftermath of the officer-related death of George Floyd and a racial climate that feels more contentious than ever. And on the newest episode of theSkimm’s weekly news podcast, Skimm This, Obama shares his candid thoughts on both subjects.
“The United States has never fully done a reckoning of our past. And, I am somebody who is an eternal optimist and insists on us recognizing the extraordinary progress in race relations that’s been made just in my lifetime,” he says. “But the truth of the matter is that the scars of slavery and Jim Crow never fully went away. They’re embedded in our institutions, they’re embedded in our economy. And they’re embedded in our attitudes.
He continues, “I think as is true for individuals, it’s very hard for us to solve our deepest problems until we recognize them and understand them. The same is true for a nation. And so for young people to have started, I think educating themselves more, the way we’ve seen since.”
He also talks about how ongoing activism inspires him.
“The demonstrations this summer and the George Floyd murder for people to become more aware of how profoundly race has shaped our society and continues to shape our society,” he says. “That’s an important place to start, but at the end of the day the thing I’m encouraged by is. I see young people, the peers of my daughters, who I think have genuinely grown up and internalized the notion that all people are equal and deserving of dignity and respect and that impulse is there in the majority of this upcoming generation.”
Skimm This airs weekly on Thursdays at 5 p.m. ET on your podcast platform of choice, so be sure to tune in tonight for the full episode. And for your listening pleasure, here’s an exclusive clip of Obama talking that talk prior to tonight’s premiere.