Former US President Barack Obama is Not a Fan of "Cancel Culture"
On October 29, 2019, former US President Barack Obama shared some strong words toward the social-media driven "cancel culture".
On Tuesday, October 29, 2019, former US President Barack Obama had some criticisms and challenged the "woke" culture at the Obama Foundation's annual summit in Chicago, Illinois.
The president simply replied that the world is messy, and the internet activists that are part of the "cancel culture" movement are not helping anything by attacking random people online just to prove how woke they are.
For those unfamiliar, "cancel culture", also known as "call-out culture", is a form of protest in which someone like a celebrity shares an unpopular opinion about something, and the internet responds by calling that person out on social media and boycotting any and all of their work.
"Woke" is a term that originated in African American culture, and it refers to the perceived awareness of social justice and racial issues in particular. The word rose in popularity in 2014 due to its heavy use by Black Lives Matter.
"The world is messy," Obama said. "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, and I think one danger I see among young people... that is accelerated by social media is... there is this sense of sometimes... the way of making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people. And that's enough."
Barack Obama believes that this type of activism does not bring change, and it is true. The idea is to attack for the sake of proving how aware or "woke" the person is. The goal of that mentality is to only inflate the self and not improve the society.
For real change to happen, there needs to be a heart of love and understanding. People will not change by being harassed and insulted. Quite the contrary, most people further solidify their prejudices and stereotypes when they feel cornered and attacked.
This is why the former president felt the need to call this "cancel culture" out, because it is actually not achieving what it believes itself to be doing. The proper approach is to have a discussion with the uninformed and help them to better understand why what they are doing is hurtful and how to prevent it. As Nelson Mandela once said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
As we all move forward together, let us take president Obama's words to heart and remember that fighting and verbally assaulting is not going to be the catalyst for change.
"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi