William Barr says he doesn't think racism 'is as common as people suggest'

William Barr.
(Image credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Attorney General William Barr told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday that he doesn't think there are "two justice systems" in the United States, and the "narrative that the police are in some epidemic of shooting unarmed Black men" is false.

Barr said he also believes people need to "be a little careful about throwing the idea of racism around. Racism usually means that 'I believe because of your race you're a lesser human being than me.' I think there are people in the United States that feel that way, but I don't think it is as common as people suggest and I think we have safeguards to ensure that it doesn't really have an effect to someone's future. I think we've made a lot of progress over the last 60 years."

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His words come as the country continues to grapple with anti-racism and anti-police brutality protests, sparked by the officer-involved shootings of Black men and women like George Floyd, Jacob Blake, and Breonna Taylor. Barr said that law enforcement officials are tracking people who are "flying around the country" and purchasing "weapons to use in riots," but would not give Blitzer any specific examples.

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President Trump claimed earlier this week during an interview with Fox News that "people that are in the dark shadows" are "controlling the streets," and alleged that a plane filled with "thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear" landed in Washington, D.C., over the weekend. Trump appeared to be repeating a story that had been shared on Facebook, but when Blitzer asked Barr about Trump's tale, he responded, "I don't know what the president is referring to."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.