The President described the recent viral video showing a hate crime in Chicago as "despicable," though he does not believe it to be proof of worsening race relations in America.
President Obama has responded to the graphic Facebook Live video that showed the torture of a disabled white man at the hands of four black teens. The assailants were arrested on Wednesday and charged with hate crimes on Thursday, as Chicago Police deemed that they targeted the victim due to his race as well as his disability. They could be heard uttering "f*ck white people" as well as "f*ck Trump" during the attack.
Speaking to CBS Chicago in a White House interview on Thursday, Obama described the incident as "despicable." "I take these things very seriously," he said. He also confirmed that he, too, believed the torture depicted in the video to constitute a hate crime.
The President does not, however, feel that this particular atrocity is evidence that race relations are worsening in America. "In part because we see visuals of racial tensions, violence, and so forth; because of smart phones and the Internet," Obama said with regard to why the public's perception of racial strife seems to be particularly palpable right now.
"What we have seen as surfacing, I think, are a lot of problems that have been there a long time," he explained. "Whether it's tensions between police and communities, hate crimes of the despicable sort that has just now recently surfaced on Facebook."
In fact, Obama thinks the current state of race relations is a sign of great progress for the U.S., saying, "I think the overall trajectory of race relations in this country is actually very positive. It doesn't mean that all racial problems have gone away. It means that we have the capacity to get better."
"The good news is that the next generation that's coming behind us ... have smarter, better, more thoughtful attitudes about race," he said, furthering his optimistic viewpoint.
President-elect Donald Trump is yet to comment on the incident, which has caused an intense rift between conservatives and racially focused progressives, such as the Black Lives Matter movement.