Former President Barack Obama chastised “woke” culture Tuesday at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago, pointing out that whining on Twitter is “not activism.”
“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.”
“Like if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or used the word, wrong verb, then I can sit back feel pretty good about myself cause man, you see how woke I was? I called you out,” Obama mocked. “That’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change.”
The former president has echoed similar sentiments before, criticizing liberal college students who protest conservative speakers lecturing on campus. At an Iowa town hall on education in 2015, Obama said this:
I’ve heard of some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative, or they don’t want to read a book if it had language that is offensive to African Americans or somehow send a demeaning signal towards women… I’ve got to tell you, I don’t agree with that either – that you when you become students at colleges, you have to be coddled and protected from different points of view. Anybody who comes to speak to you and you disagree with, you should have an argument with them, but you shouldn’t silence them by saying you can’t come because I’m too sensitive to hear what you have to say.
The president’s comments, however, starkly contrast his record in office serving as the virtue-signaler-in-chief for eight years, for example, defending San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests.
Other examples abound, from the time he accused Cambridge police of racial profiling, to the protests in Ferguson, Mo., where rioters from Chicago were bused in and President Obama’s attorney general refused to investigate.
Today’s woke culture has become a toxic paradigm of deepening societal divisions, which breed a cancel culture where seemingly anyone can be brought down for being the slightest bit offensive to a any particular minority group. It seems Obama is too little, too late to put on the brakes.
In September, the executives at “Saturday Night Live” ripped comedian Shane Gillis from this season’s cast after videos surfaced on Gillis previously using racial slurs making fun of Asian people. Despite Gillis’ heartfelt apology, NBC caved to public pressure and removed Gillis from the cast.
As The Federalist’s culture editor Emily Jashinsky points out, popular shows like NBC’s “The Office” would probably be found too offensive to air on national television again in today’s woke environment. Even worse, the public is likely deprived of quality jokes because comedians are too worried to make them.