Long before he became President of the United States, Barack Obama was called a racial slur by someone who he thought was a friend—and let’s just say that things didn’t end well for that guy.
Obama, 59, opened up about the racist encounter during an episode of his new Spotify podcast, Renegades: Born in the USA, which he co-hosts with legendary artist, Bruce Springsteen.”Listen, when I was in school, I had a friend. We played basketball together,” he began, recalling his time attending high school in Hawaii. “And one time we got into a fight and he called me a c**n.”
“Now first of all, ain’t no c**ns in Hawaii, right?,” the former POTUS joked. “It’s one of those things that—where he might not even known what a c**n was—what he knew was, ‘I can hurt you by saying this.’” Then, Obama recounted his reaction. “I remember I popped him in the face and broke his nose. And we were in the locker room. And he said, ‘Why’d you do that?” Obama recalled. “And I explained to him—I said, ‘Don’t you ever call me something like that.’” Springsteen, who is a friend of Obama’s, shared his support. “Well done,” he replied.
This isn’t the first time President Barack Obama has spoken out about his experience with slurs—he’s even admitted to using them himself in the past. In his 2020 memoir, A Promised Land, Obama got candid about how “profoundly ashamed” he was for having used homophobic slurs when he was a teenager.
In his book, which was released in November 2020, Barack admitted that his “attitudes toward gays, lesbians, and transgender people hadn’t always been particularly enlightened” in the years before he entered politics. He wrote how, as a teenager, he and his friends “sometimes threw around” homophobic slurs at each other as “casual put-downs—callow attempts to fortify our masculinity and hide our insecurities.”
He continued, “Once I got to college and became friends with fellow students and professors who were openly gay, though, I realized the overt discrimination and hate they were subject to, as well as the loneliness and self-doubt that the dominant culture imposed on them.
“I felt ashamed of my past behavior—and learned to do better,” he revealed.
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