6 Times President Obama Honestly Shared His Own Experiences With Racism
Getty Images

President Obama may be the head of state, but he is also a Black man, which means that even he is not immune to racism.

Yesterday afternoon, speaking to a crowd of law enforcement officials in Chicago, President Obama openly recounted his being pulled over for Driving While Black, and it wasn’t the first time he called on his own experiences to drive a point home. Read six of POTUS’ most moving—and heartbreaking—quotes about his own struggles in the ongoing race war.

POTUS to the International Association of Chiefs of Police
“There were times when I was younger and maybe as I got a little older…where I got pulled over, and I confessed. Most of the time I got a ticket, I deserved it. I knew why I was pulled over—but there were times where I didn’t. There are a lot of African-Americans—not just me—who have that same kind of story of being pulled over or frisked or something, and the data shows that this is not an aberration.” 

POTUS on Trayvon Martin
“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids.”

Loading the player...

POTUS to People Magazine
“There’s not a Black male my age, who’s a professional, who hasn’t come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their cars, and somebody didn’t hand them their car keys.”

7 Times President Obama Has Spoken Candidly About Race in America

POTUS while speaking on the death of Trayvon Martin
“There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me—at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.”

POTUS in Dreams From My Father
“…My mind would run down a ledger of slights: the first boy, in seventh grade, who called me a coon; his tears of surprise—’Why’dya do that?’—when I gave him a bloody nose. The tennis pro who told me during a tournament that I should touch the schedule of matches pinned up to the bulletin board because my color might rub off; his thin-lipped, red-faced smile—’Can’t you take a joke?’—when I threatened to report him. The older woman in my grandparents’ apartment building who became agitated when I got on the elevator behind her and ran out to tell the manager that I was following here; her refusal to apologize when she told that I lived in the building. Our assistant basketball coach, a young, wiry man from New York with a nice jumper, who, after pick-up game with some talkative Black men, had muttered within earshot of me and there of my teammates that we shouldn’t have lost to a bunch niggers; and who, when I told him—with a fury that surprised even me—to shut up, had calmly explained the apparently obvious fact that ‘there are Black people, and there are niggers. Those guys were niggers.'”

POTUS to People Magazine
“It’s one thing for me to be mistaken for a waiter at a gala. It’s another thing for my son to be mistaken for a robber and to be handcuffed—or worse—if he happens to be walking down the street and is dressed the way teenagers dress.”