The live-streaming to Facebook of four black teens holding a white man hostage and torturing him perhaps was too much to ignore, even for Democrats.
While Josh Earnest was reluctant to call it a “hate crime” – instead saying it was too soon to tell, and deferring to local law enforcement – more recently, President Obama did refer to it as a hate crime, a “despicable” one at that.
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However, the President doesn’t think this most recent racially motivated attack means that race relations are worse. He still thinks they’re better.
“Among the many accomplishments you’ve had, the one that’s been frustrating I’m sure to you is race relations,” CBS reporter Jay Levine said to the President. “They’ve gotten worse, especially in Chicago – Laquan McDonald, two recent racially-motivated attacks, one this week caught on Facebook live. That’s got to be terribly disappointing to you, of all the things you wanted to do with race relations.”
Obama didn’t agree. “I don’t think it’s accurate to say race relations have gotten worse,” he said. “Listen, I came to Chicago in ’85 – you were there – during Council Wars. I promise you, race relations haven’t gotten worse.” He continued:
“But what is true is that – in part because we see visuals of racial tensions, violence, and so forth, because of smart phones, the internet, and the media – what we’ve seen is surfacing a lot of the problems that have been there a long time – whether it’s tensions between police and communities, whether it’s hate crimes of the despicable sort that has just now surfaced on Facebook.”
“I take these things very seriously,” he said.