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Obama Criticizes Cancel Culture on Social Media: ‘That’s Not Activism’

President Barack Obama in 2016 (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Former President Barack Obama chided “woke” social media activism for popularizing so-called cancel culture during a speech on Tuesday at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago for “not bringing about change.”

“This idea of purity, and you’re never compromised, and you’re politically woke, and all that stuff — you should get over that quickly,” Obama told the audience. “The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws.”

The former president went on to critique shifts among young political activists towards more vitriolic judgments on those they disagree with, especially when using online platforms.

“One danger I see among young people particularly on college campuses, I do get a sense sometimes now among certain young people — and this is accelerated by social media — there is this sense sometimes the way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people and that’s enough.

“Like if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right, or use the wrong verb, then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself. ‘Cuz man, did you see how woke I was? I called you out!’” Obama sarcastically remarked.

Earlier this month, Obama tweeted in support of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying he was “proud” to have worked with him. In September, evidence of Trudeau appearing in blackface developed into a scandal which resulted in a public apology from Trudeau

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