Obama spoke in an interview last week about how his racial identity can unify and transform the United States, the newspaper said.
The son of a black Kenyan father and a white mother from Kansas, Obama will be inaugurated on Tuesday as the 44th U.S. president, and the first one to be an African American.“There is an entire generation that will grow up taking for granted that the highest office in the land is filled by an African American,” Obama said in the interview.
“I mean, that’s a radical thing. It changes how black children look at themselves. It also changes how white children look at black children. And I wouldn’t underestimate the force of that,” Obama told the Post.
Beyond the historic symbolism of his inauguration, Obama hopes to use his presidency as an example of how people can bridge differences, the Post reported.
“What I hope to model is a way of interacting with people who aren’t like you and don’t agree with you that changes the temper of our politics,” Obama was quoted as saying.
“And then part of that changes how we think about moving forward on race relations. Race relations becomes a subset of a larger problem in our society, which is we have a diverse, complicated society where people have a lot of different viewpoints,” Obama said.
Reporting by JoAnne Allen; Editing by Eric Walsh for Reuters.com