Focusing on race, Obama explained how many people use racial epithets as a means to make themselves feel more important and assert power over others.
During an episode of Former President Barack Obama and singer Bruce Springsteen's new Spotify podcast Renegades: Born in the USA, an unknown fact about Obama was revealed. While conversing about a wide range of topics like politics, music, and race, the 59-year-old recalled an incident where he had once punched a school friend after he called him a racial slur when they were just kids. Focusing on race, Obama explained how many people use racial epithets as a means to make themselves feel more important and assert power over others. The incident happened when he was playing basketball with his friend. "When I was in school, I had a friend. We played basketball together," he recalled. "And one time we got into a fight and he called me a c---."
The former POTUS then recalls breaking his nose, "And I remember I popped him in the face and broke his nose. And we were in the locker room." To this Springsteen responds, "Well done." Obama then went on the warn the kid never to use that term for him when he asked the reason for his violence. "Don't you ever call me something like that," he told the child. According to Business Insider, he then went to explain that there is similar psychology behind someone using racial slurs against a person and using other methods to dehumanize them. "What it comes down to is an assertion of status over the other. The claim is made that, 'No matter what I am - I may be poor. I may be ignorant. I may be mean. I may be ugly. I may not like myself. I may be unhappy. But you know what I'm not? I'm not you," said Obama.
"That basic psychology that then gets institutionalized is used to justify dehumanizing somebody, taking advantage of 'em, cheatin' 'em, stealin' from 'em, killin' 'em, raping 'em," he continues. Springsteen and Obama met in 2008 while on the campaign trail and have been friends ever since then, according to TMZ. The name chosen for their podcast is a nod to Springsteen's anthem "Born in the USA" and possibly an implication on one of the most pervasive racists attacks that Obama has faces till date- Donald Trump and many critics making false accusations that Barack, the first Black President of the United States, may not have been born in the country.
Back in 2004, columnist Andy Martin claimed that Obama was a fraud and that he had "spent a lifetime running from his family heritage and religious heritage." However, he later asserted that he was accusing the former President of decorating the story of his life in his memoir Dreams From My Father rather than questioning his birthplace. "I always maintained Obama was born in Hawaii," Martin said in 2016, according to The Atlantic. "Later, crazies took over the movement and proposed increasingly irrational and unfounded claims [like] Obama was born in Kenya. I never supported those claims in any way." This misunderstanding was brought up once again during the 2008 Democratic primary.
Birtheism started before Obama even ran for President pic.twitter.com/OlFagJO4e9— Section 2 : 14th Amendment of US Constitution (@kylengh) August 2, 2020
Slowly, the birtherism issue emerged as a conspiracy theory with some claiming that Obama was secretly a Muslim, which according to the conservative media's logic meant that he was secretly a terrorist as well. By 2011, many Republican supporters believed that Obama was not born in America and slowly legal challenges kept mounting in an attempt to remove Obama from the ballot and the White House. But the birtherism theories could not prevent his election and reelection.