In bygone days, why did black people try to lighten their skin and perhaps pass for white? So they could escape racial bigotry. So they wouldn't be abused or beaten or even killed for being black. When the news came out that actress Farrah Fawcett died, no one wrote "She was an actress?"
Fast forward from June 2009 to June 2015. One morning, Rachel Dolezal is being interviewed by Matt Lauer on NBC's Today Show. Ms. Dolezal lost her job as president of Spokane, Washington's NAACP when it was discovered that she lied about being black. She was born of white parents. In the interview, she claimed to "identify" with being black. So, on the Today Show, you basically had two white people on a network morning news show talking about how hard it is to be black in America. Rachel Dolezal was the big news story of the morning. That night -- we were hit with the horrible reality of what it can mean to really be black in America. A young white racist shot and killed 8 black people sitting in a church. He killed them because they were black. Yes, they were black. Yes, Michael Jackson was black. Do you get it now?
When I heard the news of the racist terrorist attack in a Charleston, South Carolina church, I gasped. Then I felt so, so tired. Drained of all physical and spiritual energy, as if someone had reached in and yanked the soul right out me. I cried and thought to myself, "They still hate us." Racism. And another multiple shooting because someone mentally unhinged had easy access to a gun.
President Barack Obama talked about that, about his anger with a disappointing Congress when he sought stricter gun laws, he talked about growing up with a father figure and he talked about being a father. You may have heard reports that President Obama said "the N-word" during the interview. Yes, he did. He used it in telling how we must root out that word and racist in America. He used it the way Atticus Finch uses it in To Kill a Mockingbird as he explains to his little girl that racism is bad. He didn't use it as a slur in a street slang way.
You need to hear the interview. Maron...how I dig him. He now has a TV show on IFC plus his hit podcast. Marc Maron interviews President Obama in Episode 613 of WTF. It aired June 22nd. To play it, go here: WTFpod.com.