Barack Obama has been busy since leaving the White House but the 44th President of the United States still has an impact on the culture at large. By way of a new podcast with Rock legend Bruce Springsteen, Obama shared a story of how he broke a friend’s nose who called a coon on the basketball court.
Obama and Springsteen have paired up for the Spotify podcast series Renegades: Born In The USA, where the two men seemingly with little in common on paper are actually aligned more than any of their supporters or fans would know.
With frank tales about their different upbringings and challenging discussions on race while living in America, Obama landed on a story about living in Hawaii as a teenager and the interaction where he was met with the derogatory term. This came after Springsteen told a story of how his late friend and E Street Band member Clarence Clemons was called the n-word by some white men that he thought were his associates at the very least.
“Listen, when I was in school, I had a friend. We played basketball together,” Obama said. “And one time we got in a fight and he called me a coon. Now, first of all, ain’t no coons in Hawaii, right?”
Obama continued, “Yo, it’s one of those things that—where he might not even know what a c**n was what he knew was, ‘I can hurt you by saying this.’ And I remember, I popped him in the face and broke his nose.”
The entire conversation artfully weaved from lighthearted to serious, with Obama breaking down how someone can use words and a supposed status over someone that’s different than you.
The entire podcast is actually a warm conversation from a pair of men who lived vastly opposite lives but still found a way to forge a bond despite that.
Check out the episode of Renegades below.