Police in America Politics Racism

President Obama: I’ve Been Pulled Over For Driving While Black (Video)

Speaking in Chicago yesterday, President Obama told a room of some 14,000 police chiefs from around the country that he has nothing but respect and admiration for what police officers do, but added that he himself has been subjected to police harassment on more than one occasion simply because he’s black:

“There were times when I was younger and maybe even as I got a little older, but before I had a motorcade — where I got pulled over. And I confessed… most of the time I got a ticket, I deserved it. I knew why I was pulled over. But there were times where I didn’t. And as a report that came out just this week reminded us, there are a lot of African-Americans–not just me–who have that same kind of story of being pulled over, or frisked, or something. And the data shows that this is not an aberration. It doesn’t mean each case is a problem. It means that when you aggregate all the cases and you look at it, you’ve got to say that there’s some racial bias in the system.”

The President also noted that there needs to be a balance between respect for the law and those who enforce it and respect for those who are being policed. But he said he knows reaching that goal won’t be accomplished overnight:

“Now, look, I’m not naïve. I’m not suggesting that any of this is easy. A lot of times it means more resources for police departments because it’s more labor intensive. If you want that kind of community policing, then you got to have enough police to be able to do that because it takes time to do more than just respond to a call. And I don’t want to suggest that we’re ever going to eliminate all misunderstanding or stereotypes between police officers and minority communities. It’s certainly not going to happen overnight. And it’s especially tough because there’s more crime in these communities, which means that the police are interacting with them more than they are in some fancy neighborhoods.”

Personally, I’m thankful the President decided to address this issue while there were members of the police in the audience. It’s way past time for us to realize that respect is indeed a two-way street, and that those who wear badges and carry guns should indeed be respected, but that respect must be earned. Too many bad cops have eroded the trust that should exist, and this is especially true in minority communities.

If we see those who are duty-bound to enforce the law abusing their power, it is only a matter of time before we lose all faith in their ability to their job in a fair and impartial manner. And that is a recipe for disaster.

Watch the President’s Remarks

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President Obama Expertly Trolls GOP After Benghazi Hearings With ‘Grumpy Cat’ Meme

President Obama is, in my humble opinion, one of the funniest people to occupy the White House in decades. He has a great sense of humor, is able to laugh at himself, has expert comedic timing, and isn’t afraid to take on his adversaries with humor.

Just last night, speaking to the Democratic Women’s Leadership Forum, the President said the GOP is feeling kind of blue now that the House Benghazi hearings only served to strengthen Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. The President also said that Republicans seem down on America in general:

“Overall though, we are making enormous progress and it does make you wonder why is it that Republican politicians are so down on America. Have you noticed that? I mean they are gloomy. They’re like Grumpy Cat.”

Then, in an awesome moment of mimicry, President Obama did his Grumpy Cat face, reminding us all of the blue-eyed feline Internet sensation we’ve seen and smiled at more than once.

Watch the President Do His Grumpy Cat Face

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President Obama Gets Real About Racism In America: ‘We Are Not Cured Of It’

Speaking to comedian Marc Maron on Maron’s “WTF” podcast, President Obama got about as real as you can possibly get when it comes to addressing the topic of racism, even saying that eliminating racism is about more than not using the N-word in public.

When asked about racism in America, President Obama said:

“We are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.”

The President said the ugly legacy of institutional racism in the United States is partially to blame for the things we see today in our country:

“The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives, you know, that casts a long shadow, and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on.”

He also reflected on the murder of nine people at a historically significant African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, saying that people must decide if they want to change gun control laws in light of the violence they see around them:

“The question is, is there a way of accommodating that legitimate set of traditions with some common-sense stuff that prevents a 21-year-old who is angry about something, or confused about something, or is racist, or is, you know, deranged from going into a gun store and suddenly is packing and can do enormous harm? And that is not something that we have ever fully come to terms with.”

This is one of the advantages of having a President as thoughtful and compassionate as the one we have: He can help all of us better understand the uglier portions of our past and our present and hopefully provide the impetus for us to create a better future.

Listen To The Podcast Here:

President Obama on the Marc Maron “WTF” Podcast

h/t The Huffington Post

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