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Obama advises ‘woke’ young people not to be so judgmental

Obama said he has particularly noticed the trend on college campuses he has visited with his daughter Malia. He described it as a “danger” that is “accelerated by social media.”

He said some young people appear to think that the way to bring about change “is to be as judgmental as possible about other people, and that’s enough.”

Barack Obama speaks with actress, model and activist Yara Shahidi.

Barack Obama speaks with actress, model and activist Yara Shahidi.Credit:AP

Criticising people on Twitter for doing something wrong or for a poor choice of words gives those critics a sense of self-satisfaction, he said.

“Then I can sit and feel pretty good about myself because, man, you see how woke I was, I called you out,” Obama said. “That’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change. If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far. That’s easy to do.”

The comments were widely applauded on social media in a rare moment of bipartisan agreement.


Conservative Fox News host Tomi Lahren said it was good to hear Obama “standing up for our rights and our values of the First Amendment.”

Lahren said Obama’s comments made some people “remember that we used to think Barack Obama was bad,” but in contrast to today’s Democratic leaders, “Obama is looking like the voice of reason.”

“That’s when you know the Democratic Party has gotten this bad,” she said.

“Dear 2020 Dems: Listen to Obama. It’s important,” tweeted John Schindler, a national security columnist for the New York Observer.

University of New Mexico psychology professor Geoffrey Miller tweeted that Obama went after “the cheap-talk virtue-signalling at the heart of woke online cancel culture.”

Miller was censured by UNM in 2013 for a tweet that was deemed insensitive to overweight people.


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