Now, that's something that I disagree with and I said in this speech today. And it's reflective of, I think, an anger and bitterness that is part of the black community's experience. It is a legacy of our past that isn't going away anytime soon. But in each successive generation, it hopefully lessens its grip.
And he has, in some ways, he has reason to be angry and bitter. I mean, here's somebody who grew up in the '50s and the '60s. He's gone through things that you and I never went through.
And so I think what was revealing in this whole episode was the degree to which I think large portions of white America were shocked or surprised that a lot of black people are still really angry about slavery and Jim Crow and segregation and discrimination, absolutely.
And I pointed out in the speech, that anger isn't necessarily healthy. In fact, often times it's self-destructive. More often, it is internalized in all kinds of ways. I mean, that's part of what we see in the inner city, where that anger and bitterness is turned inward, and kids shoot each other and take drugs and end up in jail sometimes.
Sometimes it expresses itself outwardly in ways that are offensive to the larger community. You remember when, during the O.J. trial, there was a similar moment when the culture -- you know, black and white culture just had these completely opposite reactions and nobody understood it.
And, by the way, I'm somebody who was pretty clear that O.J. was guilty. And I was ashamed for my own community to respond in that way, but I also understood what was taking place, which was that reaction had more to do with a sense that somehow the criminal justice system historically had been biased so profoundly that a defeat of that justice system was somehow a victory.
Now, that is an example of how unproductive that anger is and how we have to get beyond it, but it's there. And so that's why I said during the speech, in some ways for me to completely disown Rev. Wright is for me to disown the African-American community, because he embodies all the contradictions.
You know, this is why, during the course of this campaign, there have been moments where people say, "Well, I like Barack Obama, but not Al Sharpton. I like Colin Powell, but not Jesse. I like Oprah, but," you know, those of us who are African-American don't have that luxury.
And so what I can do then is to say, "Here's what I believe. Here's what I think. Here's where I think America needs to go."
MORAN: What do you mean you don't have the luxury?
OBAMA: I don't have the luxury of separating myself out and being selective, in terms of what it means to be African-American in this society. It's a big, complex thing. It's not monolithic.
MORAN: It seems to me that one of the things you were trying to do in this speech is say out loud, in public what we say in private within our different groups.
OBAMA: Right, exactly. And hopefully, I accurately captured not just what blacks say privately, but of what whites say privately. And that's part of -- you know, one strength I do have is that I've got a foot in each camp, right? You know, since I'm half-white and was raised by a white mom and white grandparents, I have a little more insight into those white resentments, again that are also rooted in history, and some of which are legitimate.