CHICAGO (CBS) -- The torture of a teenager streamed live on Facebook is "despicable" but not a sign of worsening racial tensions, President Obama said Thursday in an interview with CBS 2 Special Contributor Jay Levine.
In a one-on-one conversation at the White House as Obama winds down his term in office, the president was asked about the state of race relations in America.
Obama said he doesn't believe racial tensions have gotten worse, but that the public exposure is more prevalent in the digital age.
"In part because we see visuals of racial tensions, violence, and so forth; because of smart phones and the Internet," the president said.
"What we have seen as surfacing, I think, are a lot of problems that have been there a long time.
"Whether it's tensions between police and communities, hate crimes of the despicable sort that has just now recently surfaced on Facebook."
Two men and two women have been charged with a hate crime, after allegedly kidnapping an 18-year-old victim with special needs, torturing him, and posting videos of the torture online.
Several people can be seen laughing during the attack, in addition to making disparaging remarks about President-elect Donald Trump and using racially charged language. At one point, while the victim is backed into a corner, someone is heard shouting "F*** Donald Trump. F*** white people."
The four people charged are black and the victim is white.
However, the president remains hopeful about the future.
"I take these things very seriously."
"The good news is that the next generation that's coming behind us ... have smarter, better, more thoughtful attitudes about race.
"I think the overall trajectory of race relations in this country is actually very positive. It doesn't mean that all racial problems have gone away. It means that we have the capacity to get better."
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