President Obama sat down with BET’s, Jeff Johnson, for an exclusive interview called “BET News Presents: A Conversation with President Barack Obama.” During the 30-minute interview, The President addresses race, calling racism “deeply routed,” disparities in the nation’s criminal justice system, plus modern civil rights amongst the “young” generation in wake of the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Jade Raven

President Obama recognizes that younger generations have evolved on the issue as race, which can be seen throughout the country in the crowds at coast-to-coast protests taking place in response to the Michael Brown and Eric Garner tragedies.

“They’ve got a better attitude and a clearer mindset and a greater empathy for what’s going on. And I think each successive generation, as it gets more understanding, more familiarity, more comfort with people of other races and other cultures, then some of this dissipates,” Obama said, referring to the “deeply rooted” racism that still plagues this nation.

Obama also addresses what he believes are the issues in law enforcement with bad policing that has been plaguing the country. However, the President believes that the “vast majority” of law enforcement officers are doing a good job and “trying to do the right thing.”

“But a combination of bad training, in some cases; a combination in some cases of departments that really are not trying to root out biases, or tolerate sloppy police work; a combination in some cases of folks just not knowing any better, and in a lot of cases, subconscious fear of folks who look different — all of this contributes to a national problem that’s going to require a national solution,” he said.

The President believes that we’ve made progress in the modern civil rights movemnet, that young people hold the key to continue to make progress on these issues.

“But the two things that are gonna allow us to solve it: Number one, is the understanding that we have made progress, and so it’s important to recognize, as painful as these incidents are, we can’t equate what’s happening now to what was happening 50 years ago. And if you talk to your parents, grandparents, uncles, they’ll tell you, they’ll tell you that things are better — not good, in some cases, but better. And the reason it’s important for us to understand progress has been made is that then gives us hope that we can make even more progress.

“The second thing I insist of these young people is that we have to be persistent. Because, typically, progress is in steps; it’s in increments. When you’re dealing with something as deeply rooted as racism or bias, in any society, you gotta have vigilance, but you have to recognize it’s gonna take some time and you just have to be steady, so that you don’t give up when we don’t get all the way there.”