With racial issues and policing headlining the political conversation in America in the midst of nationwide protests and the murder of two police officers in New York, President Barack Obama said he believes the issue of race relations is surfacing "in a way that probably is healthy."
Obama welcomed the attention race relations and policing in minority communities have attracted recently and said he believes there will be "progress" on those issues in the next year as a result of the task force of police, community leaders and activists he assembled this year.
"I actually think that [the U.S. is] probably in its day-to-day interactions less racially divided," Obama said in an interview with NPR released Monday and recorded before his family vacation in Hawaii. "The issue of police and communities of color being mistrustful of each other is hardly new; that dates back a long time. It's just something that hasn't been talked about."
While police shootings and protests dominated the headlines this year, President Obama says race relations on the day-to-day level are better now than when he took office.
"I assure you, from the perspective of African Americans or Latinos in poor communities who have been dealing with this all their lives, they wouldn't suggest somehow that it's worse now than it was 10, 15 or 20 years ago," Obama said in an interview with NPR News.
Problems between police and communities of color are not new, Obama said, and are now being discussed in ways that are helpful.