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Sunday, June 20, 2021

Obama warns about ‘dangers’ of cancel culture

Former President Obama is warning of the “dangers” of cancel culture — saying it is creating a society where we are “just going to be condemning people all the time.”

The 44th commander-in-chief told Anderson Cooper in a CNN special Monday that he hoped the movement to demand changes in some old-fashioned attitudes would be a key part of his legacy.

However, he also warned that “a lot of the dangers of cancel culture” are that we are “just going to be condemning people all the time.”

Obama said that his daughters — Sasha, 19, and Malia, 22 — tell him how “sometimes among their peer group or in college campuses you’ll see folks going overboard.”

He said they have to rebel against that by realizing that “we don’t expect everybody to be perfect.”

“We don’t expect everybody to be politically correct all the time. But we are going to call out institutions or individuals if they are being cruel, if they are, you know, discriminating against people,” he said.

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia.
Sasha and Malia Obama told the former president that they’ve seen their peers go “overboard” with canceling someone.
Boston Globe via Getty Images

Yet, Obama also added that it was “hard for the majority … of white Americans to recognize you can be proud of this country and its traditions and its history and our forefathers and yet, it is also true that this terrible stuff happened.”

“We do want to raise awareness,” he said on the AC360 special, “Barack Obama on Fatherhood, Leadership and Legacy.”

The former president said seeing his daughters participate in Black Lives Matter protests after George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis last year gave him a “great source of my optimism.”

“My daughters are so much wiser and more sophisticated and gifted than I was at their age,” Obama said with a laugh.

Protesters hold up signs during a Black Lives Matter protest.
Former President Obama said seeing his daughters participate in Black Lives Matter protests after George Floyd’s death mades him optimistic about the changes being made in society.
AFP via Getty Images

“When people talk about … how do I think about my legacy, you know, part of it is the kids who were raised during the eight years that I was president.

“There are a bunch of basic assumptions they make about what the country can and should be that I think are still sticking. They still believe it. And they’re willing to work for it,” he said.

“That’s among not just my daughters, but among their white friends,” he said.

Lee Brown

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