President Obama Says The Idea Of A Post-Racial America Was “Naive”

Watch clips from the President’s hour-long sitdown with Dateline’s Lester Holt.

January 13, 2017

NBC News aired "The Reality of Hope" tonight, a wide-ranging conversation with President Obama as his eight years in office come to a close. Obama spoke with Dateline's Lester Holt for a wide-ranging conversation on his legacy and the challenges America faces on its way into a Trump presidency.

In one excerpt from the conversation, Obama spoke candidly about race, specifically addressing the problematic notion held by some Americans that his election indicated the country had moved into a "post-racial" chapter.

"I think any talk of it being a post-racial America after my election was never realistic," Obama told Holt. "I think that talk was not only naive, but I think [it] created some problems down the road."

"Because two things happened," the President elaborated. "Number one, it meant that African-Americans and other minority groups might have felt as if the problems that have built up over centuries—a wealth gap, an education gap, significant poverty—that those things could be addressed overnight."

Moreover, he explained, "Among some white voters who sincerely were glad to see this breakthrough, there was also an unrealistic notion that somehow, 'OK, that means discrimination's over.'"

Watch the excerpt above and another clip below that finds Obama speaking on political polarization, media consumption, and confirmation bias.

President Obama Says The Idea Of A Post-Racial America Was “Naive”