Obama: ‘I Move Back and Forth Between the Racial Divides’

‘Most Americans have good intentions ... I assume the best, rather than the worst, in others’

"I move back and forth between the racial divides, not just black-white, but Asian and Latino and, you know, I've got a lot of cultural influences. I - I think what it does do for me is to recognize that most Americans have good intentions. I said a little bit about this in the press conference earlier today. I assume the best rather than the worst in others. But it also makes me mindful of the fact that there's misunderstanding, there's mistrust and there are biases both overt and sometimes hidden that operate in ways that disadvantage minority communities. And that's a carryover.

There's a long legacy in this country that has gotten enormously better, but is still there. And when you look at what's happened in law enforcement across the country over the last several years, um, that's not news to African-Americans. What's different is simply that some of it's now videotaped and people see it. And the question then becomes, you know, what practical steps can we take to solve this problem? And I believe that the overwhelming majority of white Americans, as well as African-Americans, want to see this problem solved. So I have confidence that by surfacing these issues, we're going to be able to make progress on them ...

There's no reason for folks to be patient. I'm impatient. That's why in the wake of what happened in Ferguson and what happened in New York, we've initiated task forces that in 90 days, are going to be providing very specific recommendations. On the other hand, I think an unwillingness to acknowledge that progress has been made cuts off the possibility of further progress. If - if critics want to suggest that America is inherently and irreducibly racist, then why bother even working on it? I've seen change in my own life. So has this country. And those who would deny that, I think, actually foreclose the possibility of further progress rather than advancing it."

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