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Former President Barack Obama Reveals He Once Broke His Classmate's Nose — Here's Why

Olawale Ogunjimi
Feb 24, 2021
08:50 P.M.

Former President Barack Obama revealed how he got into a violent fight with a classmate who had called him a racial slur when they were younger.


In a chat with Bruce Springsteen on their podcast “Renegades,” Barack Obama shared the story of how he broke his classmate’s nose after he was called a racial slur.

Obama intimated that the incident occurred when he was in school, and the person involved had been a friend he played basketball with from time to time.

President Barack Obama hosts a press conference at the Pentagon in Washington on August 4, 2016 | Photo: Getty Images

President Barack Obama hosts a press conference at the Pentagon in Washington on August 4, 2016 | Photo: Getty Images


He added that one time they got into a fight, and the boy called him a "coon." Obama expressed that although the boy might not have known what a "coon" was, he knew it was something that was going to hurt him.

To retaliate, Obama said he popped him in the face and broke his nose. The whole incident had taken place in the locker room, and after punching him, he warned him never to say such to him again. He added that he told the boy:

“ I may be ugly. I may not like myself. I may be unhappy. But you know what I’m not? I’m not you.”


Over the years, Obama has been known to open up about various aspects of his life through his books, interviews, and now with the podcast. This is, however, the first time he is sharing this experience of himself and his classmate.

He also never fails to share some of the nasty experiences he encountered when he was younger especially growing up in a white neighborhood during a visit to his grandparents’ home.


Obama has repeatedly discussed racism’s lingering impact on American society, both in-office and since leaving it. In 2015, he warned that America was not “cured” of racism.

He alluded that it was beyond not using racial slurs in public as societies do not entirely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years overnight.


On February 22, 2021, Spotify announced the launch of “Renegades: Born in the USA.” The podcast features topics such as politics, the state of America, fatherhood, and marriage.

The series is to span eight episodes, and so far, two of those eight have been dropped. In 2019, Spotify signed an exclusive deal with the Obamas to produce podcasts.

Obama was the 44th president of the United States and the first African American Commander in Chief. The son of parents from Kenya and Kansas, he was raised in Hawaii and experienced racism firsthand.

A graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, Obama is married to his wife, Michelle, and they have two daughters, Malia and Sasha.

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