Obama discusses racism, world leaders — and which states have the best food
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Former President Obama opens up about a wide range of topics in a new interview with The Skimm, including race relations, world leaders he would want to be in a group text with and which states have the best food.

“The truth of the matter is that the scars of slavery and Jim Crow never fully went away,” Obama says, according to quotes released by The Skimm on Friday. “They’re embedded in our institutions, they’re embedded in our economy and they’re embedded in our attitudes.”

The former president had said last month that he believes reparations for Black Americans are “justified” because "the wealth of this country" was in large part "built on the backs of slaves," but that he couldn’t pursue such policies during his presidency because of the “politics of white resistance and resentment.”

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“You know what the United States has never fully done a reckoning of our past. I am somebody who is an eternal optimist and insists on us recognizing the extraordinary progress in race relations that’s been made just in my lifetime,” he says in the new interview promoting his memoir "A Promised Land."

Race relations have been at the forefront of the national discussion since protests against systemic inequality and police brutality mushroomed last years after the death of George Floyd and other Black Americans.

Obama also touches on lighter topics such as who he would want in a group chat with foreign leaders and where to find the best food in America.

“World leaders I’d want in a group text. Dalai Lama. Love that guy. Pope FrancisPope FrancisLieu calls Catholic bishops 'hypocrites' for move to deny Biden communion Catholic bishops advance effort that could deny Biden communion Bishops to debate banning communion for president MORE, a genuinely good man. [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel. Former prime minister of India, Prime Minister [Manmohan] Singh. Maybe I’d throw Queen Elizabeth in there just because she has a drier sense of humor than people think,” he says.

For where to find the best grub in the U.S., Obama specifically mentions locations including Tennessee and Louisiana, though he demurs on where the worst might be.

"I could probably name the states with the worst food, but that would hurt people's feelings. There are a lot of states with great food," he says. "California is filled with amazing restaurants, to Memphis barbecue, to New Orleans jambalaya, crab cakes in Maryland. America's got a lot of good food out there."

"There are a handful of states where, as a general rule, the food is terrible, but they shall go unmentioned," he added.