(CNSNews.com) - "We have our own racial and ethnic tensions," President Obama told the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, pointing the "the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri."
He made the comments toward the end of a speech in which he urged the world to reject sectarianism, extremism, and violence.
"I realize that America's critics will be quick to point out that at times we, too, have failed to live up to our ideals. America has plenty of problems within its own borders. This is true.
"With a summer marked by instability in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, I know the world also took notice of the small, American city of Ferguson, Missouri, where a young man was killed and a community was divided. So yes. We have our own racial and ethnic tensions.
"And like every country, we continually wrestle with how to reconcile the vast changes wrought by globalization and greater diversity with the traditions that we hold dear. But we welcome the scrutiny of the world. Because what you see in America is a country that has steadily worked to address our problems, to make our union more perfect, to bridge the divides that existed at the founding of this nation.
"America's not the same as it was 100 years ago, or 50 years ago, or even a decade ago, because we fight for our ideals and we are willing to criticize ourselves when we fall short. Because we hold our leaders accountable and insist on a free press and an independent judiciary. Because we address our differences in the open space of democracy with respect for the rule of law; with a place for people of every race and every religion; and with an unyielding belief in the ability of individual men and women to change their communities and their circumstances and their country for the better.
"After nearly six years as president, I believe that this promise can help light the world...."