Obama says he punched a friend in the face and broke his nose for calling him a racial slur when they were kids
- Obama revealed in his new
podcastthat he once punched a school friend who called him a racial slur.
- Obama shared the story with
Bruce Springsteenon an episode of "Renegades: Born in the USA."
- He also explained how people use racial epithets to assert power over others.
Obama told the story during an episode of "Renegades: Born in the USA" focusing on race and explained how people use racial epithets to make themselves feel more important and assert power over others.
"When I was in school, I had a friend. We played basketball together," Obama said. "And one time we got into a fight and he called me a c---."
Obama went on to say: "And I remember I popped him in the face and broke his nose. And we were in the locker room."
"Well done," Springsteen replied.
Obama said he told the kid, "Don't you ever call me something like that."
The former president said there's a similar psychology behind using a racial slurs and dehumanizing people in other ways.
"What it comes down to is an assertion of status over the other. The claim is made that, 'No matter what I am - I may be poor. I may be ignorant. I may be mean. I may be ugly. I may not like myself. I may be unhappy. But you know what I'm not? I'm not you,'" Obama said. "That basic psychology that then gets institutionalized is used to justify dehumanizing somebody, taking advantage of 'em, cheatin' 'em, stealin' from 'em, killin' 'em, raping 'em."
The name of the podcast is a nod to Springsteen's anthem "Born in the USA" and perhaps also a play on one of the most pervasive racist attacks on Obama: Donald Trump and other critics' false claim that the first Black president might not have been born in the US.
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