Obama says cancel culture has gone ‘overboard’: Stop expecting everybody ‘to be perfect’

on Jun8
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Former President Barack Obama again took aim at the “dangers” of cancel culture in a new interview Monday, doubling down on earlier warnings against ideological purity tests that have been weaponized by much of the left in recent years.

During an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, the 44th president urged party activists to reconsider a culture of “canceling” those who run afoul of their worldview, adding that he believes his daughters’ generation understands that people have gone “overboard” in demanding perfection.

“At least in conversations with my daughter, I think that a lot of the dangers of cancel culture—and we’re just going to be condemning people all the time—at least among my daughters they will acknowledge sometimes among their peer group or in college campuses you’ll see folks going overboard,” he said.


Obama said his two daughters, 19-year-old Sasha and 22-year-old Malia “have a pretty good sense of, ‘look, we don’t want, we don’t expect everybody to be perfect.’” 

The former president raised eyebrows in 2019 when he first spoke out against what he called “woke” virtue signaling, where he told an audience in Chicago that activists “should get over” their obsession with the flawed ideology. 

“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically woke, and all that stuff, 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,” he said.

Obama at the time called out college campuses for focusing more on casting judgment on others than advocating for positive change.


“One danger I see among young people, particularly on college campuses,” he said, “I do get a sense sometimes now among certain young people—and this is accelerated by social media—there 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. Like, if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or use the wrong verb, then I can feel pretty good about myself, ‘cause man did you see how woke I was? I called you out.'”

“That’s not activism,”  he argued. “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.”

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