National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial criticized President Obama for using the n-word in an interview, saying, “that word deserves to be alongside the Confederate flag” on Monday’s “Situation Room” on CNN.
Morial stated, “I wish he had chosen to use, to say, ‘the n-word,’ as opposed to saying the word. Because I’ve been long on record that coarse language used in any context in the public square is not the best way to talk about these types of issues, whether it’s the use of the — that word, the n-word has never had a positive meaning. It was designed, and that word deserves to be alongside the Confederate flag, the hood, the noose,, in a museum, to remind people about the difficult days that we’ve been through as a nation.”
Morial did praise the larger statement by the president, saying “Well, let me say the president’s broader statement that we still have to deal with the challenges of race and division in America, and that it is, and remains an important, difficult issue for the nation, I welcome that. … I think part of the president’s opportunity at this stage, given all we’re dealing with as a nation, is to help the nation understand, confront, and recognize that the division of race is a division that we have to address, that by not talking about it, by sweeping it under the rug, by ignoring it, we don’t put it to bed. We allow it to fester and persist.”
He added that it’s “important to recognize that as president, it’s not only what a president says, it’s what the president’s administration does. And I think that addressing health disparities through the Affordable Care Act. Seriously and aggressively enforcing civil rights statutes and laws and conventions as the Justice Department has done, trying to create a leveler playing field when it comes to lending and dealing with those sorts of disparities are all important contributions that this president has made. I do believe, however, that it’s timely and important now, as he faces the final year and a half of his presidency, that helping the nation confront, by speaking forcefully, and I think in a positive way, about the challenges of race and how we as a nation can get beyond it, will be one of the legacies of his administration, but with 18 months to go, I think it’s time for him to perhaps give another major speech, give a speech on race, give a speech that helps the nation move beyond.”
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