- The Washington Times - Friday, December 19, 2014

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story, which was based on a Federal news service transcript, said President Obama referred to “the overall majority of good black people” not using racism as an excuse. Mr. Obama actually said, “the overall majority of black people” do not use racism as an excuse.

Before flying off to Hawaii for a two-week vacation, President Obama said Friday that most blacks understand America’s history of slavery and segregation isn’t an excuse for their current challenges.

Asked by a reporter to assess the state of black America, Mr. Obama said most blacks are “better off now” than when he came into office, due to the economic recovery. But he said the gap of income and wealth between whites and blacks persists, “and we’ve got more work to do on that front.”

“This is a legacy of a troubled racial past, Jim Crow and slavery,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s not an excuse for black folks, and I think the overall majority of black people understand it’s not an excuse. They’re working hard. They’re out there hustling and trying to get an education, trying to send their kids to college. But, you know, they’re starting behind oftentimes in the race.”

The president also referred to the civil unrest in black communities over the refusal of grand juries to indict white police officers for the deaths of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and in New York City, saying “how we’re thinking about race relations right now has been colored” by those events. Mr. Obama said he’s hopeful that a task force he appointed will come up with concrete solutions in 90 days to improve relations between police departments and minority communities.

“If you offer practical solutions, I think people wanna fix these problems,” he said. “This isn’t a situation where people feel good seeing somebody choked and die. I think that troubles everybody.”


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