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President Obama called the beating of a mentally disabled man broadcast on Facebook Live "despicable" but said the incident is not a sign racial tensions are worsening.
Obama called the incident, involving four black suspects and a white victim, an example of how racial strife is more visible in the digital age. But, he said, the overall path of race relations in the U.S. is “very positive.”
“In part because we see visuals of racial tensions, violence and so forth because of smartphones and the internet ... what we have seen as surfacing, I think, are a lot of problems that have been there a long time,” Obama said in an interview with a CBS affiliate in Chicago.
Chicago authorities have filed hate-crime charges against four black suspects, who shouted insults about white people and President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Heller won't say if Biden won election MORE during the attack.
In the video, which showed a group of people gagging and attacking a white, disabled suburban Chicago teen, chants of "f--- Donald Trump" and "f--- white people" could be heard.
Obama expressed alarm about the attack, which he referred to in a separate interview with Chicago’s WLS as an apparent "horrific hate crime."
But the president said he remains hopeful about the future.
“I take these things very seriously,” he told WBBM. “The good news is that the next generation that’s coming behind us ... have smarter, better, more thoughtful attitudes about race.
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