On Monday, former President Barack Obama discussed the “dangers” of cancel culture, repeating his earlier warnings against ideological purity tests that define and animate the far left of his party.
Obama made his comments during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
The former president said activists should reject “canceling” those they disagree with. Obama also said that even his daughters have expressed that cancel culture has gone “overboard.”
“At least in conversations with my daughter, I think that a lot of the dangers of cancel culture—and we’re just going to be condemning people all the time—at least among my daughters they will acknowledge sometimes among their peer group or in college campuses you’ll see folks going overboard,” Obama said.
Obama said his daughters “have a pretty good sense of, ‘look, we don’t want, we don’t expect everybody to be perfect.’”
Obama’s daughters are Sasha, who is 19, and Malia, who is 22.
The former President did say that criticism can be warranted: “But we are gonna call out institutions or individuals if they are being cruel, if they are, ya know, discriminating against people.”
In 2019, Obama pushed back against what he called “woke” virtue signaling.
“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically woke, and all that stuff, you should get over that quickly,” Obama said.
“The world is messy,” he added. “There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids, and share certain things with you.”
“One danger I see among young people, particularly on college campuses,” Obama said at the time. “I do get a sense sometimes now among certain young people—and this is accelerated by social media—there is this sense sometimes of the way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people, and that’s enough.”
Obama criticized woke ideology.
“Like, if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or use the wrong verb, then I can feel pretty good about myself, ‘cause man did you see how woke I was? I called you out.” the former president said.
“That’s not activism,” Obama insisted. “That’s not bringing about change.”
“If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far,” Obama finished. “That’s easy to do.”
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