Barack Obama is all about activism done the right way.
The 44th president of the United States spoke at an Obama Foundation event in Chicago on Tuesday. Obama, 58, sounded off on young activists online who are doing things the wrong way.
“This idea of purity and that you’re never compromised and you’re always politically woke — you should get over that quickly,” Obama said. “The world is messy. 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.
“I do get a sense sometimes now among certain young people, and this is accelerated by social media,” he explained. “Here 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 gave an example of how that sort of misguided activism can give a false sense of accomplishment.
“If I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or used the wrong verb, then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself. ‘Did you see how woke I was, I called you out.’ Then I’m going to get on my TV and watch my show,” he shared.
“That’s not activism,” Obama asserted. “That’s not bringing about change. If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far.”