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'I popped him': Barack Obama broke his childhood friend’s nose after being called a racial slur

The former President made the revelation during a podcast, alongside Singer Bruce Springsteen, titled 'Renegades: Born in the USA.'

'I popped him': Barack Obama broke his childhood friend’s nose after being called a racial slur
MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 26: Former President Barack Obama campaigns for Wisconsin Democratic candidates during a rally at North Division High School on October 26, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Former President Barack Obama revealed that he broke a childhood friend's nose for calling him a racial slur. Obama made the revelation during a conversation with Bruce Springsteen about race in their new Spotify podcast titled Renegades: Born in the USA. The former President recalled being called a racial slur in the locker-room. "When I was in school I had a friend, we played basketball together, 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?" said Obama, while laughing, reported Vanity Fair. He then adds, "It's one of those things where he might not even known what a c--n was. What he knew was, 'I can hurt you by saying this.' I remember I popped him in the face and broke his nose. ... It was just reactive; I said, 'What?!' and I popped him."

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 21: Former US President Barack Obama campaigns for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden community event on October 21, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today is the first in-person campaigning for Former US President Barack Obama who is campaigning for the Biden Harris ticket. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)


Obama told his friend in no uncertain terms to stop calling him that. The incident happened when Obama was in the seventh grade, as he had revealed in his memoir. His friend was taken aback by the sharp response from Obama. "He was like, 'Why'd you do that?'" recalled Obama. "And I explained to him, I said, 'Don't you ever call me something like that.'"

Renegades born in the USA/Spotify


In the podcast, Obama states that acts of racism, including slurs, were a way of an exhibition of power. "The point is, what it comes down to is an assertion of status over the other," said Obama in the episode titled, American Skin: Race in the United States. "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.' And that basic psychology then gets institutionalized, is used to justify dehumanizing somebody, taking advantage of them, cheating them, stealing from them, killing them, raping them — whatever it is. At the end of the day, it really comes down to that," he added. He also said many used racial slurs as a way of masking their insecurities. "And in some cases, it's as simple as, you know, 'I'm scared I'm insignificant and not important, and this thing is the thing that's gonna give me some importance,'" said Obama. 

MADISON, WI - NOVEMBER 05: U.S. President Barack Obama and rocker Bruce Springsteen wave to a crowd of 18,000 people during a rally on the last day of campaigning in the general election November 5, 2012 in Madison, Wisconsin. Obama and his opponent, Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are stumping from one 'swing state' to the next in a last-minute rush to persuade undecided voters. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


The podcast is part of a deal signed by the Obamas with Spotify in 2019. The Spotify series Renegades features Obama and Springsteen "in deep and revealing conversation with each other, exploring a wide array of topics including race, fatherhood, marriage and the state of America." The podcast will have eight parts, of which the first two episodes are available for streaming on Spotify from last Monday. "President Obama and Bruce Springsteen have formed a deep friendship since they first met on the campaign trail in 2008," read the statement. "Now, for the first time ever, Higher Ground and Spotify invite listeners to eavesdrop as they discuss their hometowns and role models, explore modern manhood, and confront the painfully divided state of America today and how we can all move forward together."


Obama talks about their unlikely friendship and all the things they have in common. "Over the years, what we've found is that we've got a shared sensibility," said Obama, reported MSN. "About work, about family, and about America. In our own ways, Bruce and I have been on parallel journeys trying to understand this country that's given us both so much."

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