President Obama bluntly addresses race relations in farewell speech


President Barack Obama delivered his farewell address to the nation on Tuesday night, and throughout the emotional speech he bluntly examined the state of race relations in the country following his presidency.

Obama admitted that while he feels progress has been made, race still remains a "potent and often divisive force in our society."

"I've lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were 10 or 20 or 30 years ago regardless of what some people say," said Obama. "But we're not where we need to be and all of us have more work to do."

Obama stated that in order for the ball to be moved further "hearts must change." And in order for that change to occur, the president encouraged people from divergent backgrounds to empathize with each other, to strive to feel what it's like to walk in someone else's shoes.

The president urged African Americans to tie their "own struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face – the refugee, the immigrant, the rural poor, the transgender American."

Obama also seemed to provide the Democratic party with some advice heading into future elections by pointing out that while white men in America may seem like they "got all the advantage," Obama stated that many have seen their "world upended by economic, cultural, and technological change."

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"So regardless of the station we occupy; we have to try harder; to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own."


Obama continued to press Americans to reach outside their respective bubbles "whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses or places of worship or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us," and talk to others that disagree and challenge them.

"I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours," Obama said in closing, asking the country to hold fast to the notion that catapulted him to the White House, "Yes we can. Yes we did. Yes we can."