Watch: Obama does not regret using the N-word on radio interview
President Barack Obama does not regret using the n-word to make a point about racial progress in an interview, the White House said.
Spokesman Josh Earnest said the White House is not surprised that the president uttering a word used as a racial slur would stir controversy.
But Mr Earnest said Mr Obama did not plan in advance to use the word to be provocative.
He said Mr Obama was speaking in a free-flowing, casual interview for a podcast and trying to make the point that ending racism is about more than manners.
Mr Obama said that just because people realise it is not polite to use the racial slur in public does not mean that racism is "cured".
"The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives, you know, that casts a long shadow, and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on. We’re not cured of it," Obama said in the interview.
"And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say ‘n*****’ in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination.
"Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 2 - 300 years prior."