President Obama says he is inspired by the fact that his presidency is helping the country right racial injustices that still existed, particularly in law enforcement.
“I am very proud that my presidency can help to galvanize and mobilize America on behalf of issues of racial disparity and racial injustice,” he said during an interview with NBC anchor Lester Holt last night.
As the first African-American president, Obama conceded Holt’s point, that this was a defining moment in his presidency. He also encouraged his successor to take up the baton.
“I do so hoping that my successor who is not African-American – if he or she is not – that they’ll be just as concerned as I am because this is part of what it means to perfect our Union,” he said.
Obama met with Holt to discuss his presidential legacy on issues of law enforcement. Part of his goal, he explained, was rooting out racial disparities in the justice system.
“Pretty much up and down the line, what we see is disparities in how white, black, Hispanic suspects are treated – higher arrest rates, tougher sentencing, longer sentences,” Obama said.
He asserted some of the problems were a result of “subtle biases” within the law enforcement community.
“Where it’s happening, you can’t always isolate within the system,” he said. “There may be subtle biases that take place. There may be predispositions that end up resulting in these disparities. But we know they’re happening.”