Expressing deep concern over the recent incidents of minorities who are killed by white police officers, US President Barack Obama said that racism is “deeply rooted” in the country and immediate reforms are required to tackle such fatal incidents.
“This is something that is deeply rooted in our society, it’s deeply rooted in our history,” Obama said in an interview with BET.
The President also expressed need for extra vigilance from the activists and asked them to keep pressing in their demands for reform steadily.
“When you’re dealing with something as deeply rooted as racism or bias … you’ve got to have vigilance but you have to recognize that it’s going to take some time, and you just have to be steady so you don’t give up when we don’t get all the way there,” Obama said.
Last week, the President had held meetings at the White House with young civil-rights activists who have launched protests against the fatal shooting incident of an 18-year-old unarmed black boy by a white police officer last August in Ferguson, Missouri.
A similar encounter incident rocked the country when a grand jury in New York denied indictment of a white police officer on criminal charges for the choke-hold death of a black man.
Demonstrators in large numbers have flooded the streets nationwide, with top locations including New York City; Seattle; Davidson, North Carolina; Portland, Oregon and Tampa.
Taking cognizance of the incidences, the President said that he wants to ensure that the law-enforcement officials “are serving everybody equally.”
“This isn’t going to be solved overnight. The US has made progress on civil rights over the past 50 years and I believe the country will eventually solve its problems with racism,” Obama said during the interview.
The President further added, “As painful as these incidents are, we can’t equate what is happening now to what was happening 50 years ago. If you talk to your grandparents, parents, uncles, they’ll tell you that things are better — not good, in some cases, but better. We have to be persistent, because typically progress is in steps. It’s in increments.”
Obama’s remarks come at a time when a new Bloomberg Politics survey showed that 53 percent of Americans believe the interactions between the white and black communities have deteriorated after he took office. According to the survey, 56 percent of white people believe relations between the two communities have rather worsened and 45 percent of blacks feel share the similar opinion. On the other hand, 36 percent of Americans believe that communities’ relations have stayed the same under the leadership of Obama and only nine percent believe relations have improved.