During Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast today, President Obama used the N-word during an interview, and this controversial act immediately escalated the conversation on race relations in America.
President Obama said:
“It is incontrovertible that race relations have improved significantly during my lifetime and yours, and that opportunities have opened up, and that attitudes have changed. That is a fact.
What is also true is 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. We’re not cured of it. Racism – we’re 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…”
Was the N-word intentional or a gaffe?
By deliberately using the N-word after the tragic massacre of nine African Americans at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina, the Obama team knew that every media outlet in the country would cover the story, elevate the conversation and continue the coverage over race relations in America.
Plus, this interview was recorded on Friday, so the Obama administration was fully prepared to respond to the press. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said today that the President does not regret the use of the word.
Podcasts Get Presidential
The 21st century fireside chats, podcasts have exploded in popularity over the past decade. Apple reported that subscriptions to podcasts via iTunes reached 1 billion last year, and they’ve increasingly been a more personal way to reach audiences, especially for traditional news outlets, brands, colleges & universities – and even independent writers, radio hosts and business insiders.
That’s why the political communication nerds in us were excited to hear that the President took an opportunity to be provocative using this medium, which is likely a more receptive crowd to this strategic speech act – as podcasts are traditionally more progressive and left-leaning. Think the NPR crowd.
BTW: WTF with Marc Maron
For those of you who don’t know the lingo, WTF stands for “what the f*ck.” Debuting on September 1, 2009, Comedian Marc Maron has interviewed celebrities, comedians and political figures. On average it receives 220,000 downloads per episode and reached its 100-millionth download on December 9, 2013. Learn more about his podcast and hear more episodes here: http://potus.wtfpod.com