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Obama Says Time to Give “Cancel Culture” A Time Out

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By G. Brown

Any day you go on social media, some celebrity is getting called out for something they said in an interview or online. Perhaps they made a joke or supported someone unpopular like the current President or a convicted sexual predator and rapist like Bill Cosby. Or maybe they simply wanted to express their opinion and the next thing you know—society deems you canceled.

Is it fair to boycott, cancel, call out people simply when their expressions or opinions don’t line up with yours or the general consensus?

Former President Barack Obama shared his thoughts on the subject at a recent Obama Foundation event. When the topic of social media and “being woke” came up, the former President said, “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. 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.

The President described what is a disturbing trend online and with younger generations in general. Obama says people see their judgemental views as the way to bring about change, but in truth, it’s simply toxic behavior. Obama continued saying, “…there is this sense that ‘the way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people and that’s enough. 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.”

We’ve all witnessed it. A fan criticizes a singer like Beyonce and ends up being dragged to within an inch of their life on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook by the collective Beyhive.

A school kid is bullied on social media to the point of taking their own life as the only way to escape.

Smear campaigns have ruined families, cost people their jobs, caused them to live in public humility all because of a picture or post that turned them into public enemy number one.

Such harsh judgments leave no room for gray areas or complex opinions. No room for people to be free to express their point of view…to make mistakes or go against the grain. You say one thing people disagree with and boom–you’re canceled.

One person voicing their opinion can quickly turn into a lynch mob of outrage and hurtful vitriol. It is a cyberbully mentality where people feel as though they can throw a stone and hide behind the secrecy of fake handles and phony avatars.

It’s a trend that seemingly has flourished over the last few years where civility and thoughtful debate have been are gradually fading to be replaced by name-calling and crassness.

Obama is right, the world is messy and people aren’t perfect.We’ve all said something dumb or inappropriate at the worst time, does that make us the reincarnation of Hitler?

Pulling up a singer’s/actor’s.comedian’s 10-year-old text messages or pictures of politicians in Blackface for Halloween from their teen years tell me what that person was like then—should an error in judgment define them now?

We don’t have to cancel someone online or call them out on Twitter. If they say something we disagree with or find offensive…we can unfriend, unfollow or mute them. We don’t need to incite a Twitter civil war by creating a hashtag campaign to take them down gathering a mob of angry villagers to kill the monster. Sometimes, the best response, especially on public platforms, is to let dumb remarks go. If they come for you directly, sure respond. But do I need to get outraged every time I see some offensive, mean or downright dumb post online? Sometimes the harshest answer is no answer at all. No retweet, no like, no share. No problem.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Shawn J.

    November 1, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    No comment

  2. Avatar

    Linda K Jackson

    October 31, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    Best post I’ve read in literally years.

  3. Avatar

    ERIC

    October 31, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    THANK U PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR SAYING THE DAMN TRUTH PUBLICLY AND THE SAME THING I BEEN SAYING. RATHER THEY LIKE IT OR NOT. JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE DOES NOT BELIEVE OR WANT TO EXCEPT NASTY SINFUL BEHAVIOR, DOES NOT MEAN THEY SHOULD BE BANNED FROM SOME WHERE, LOSE THERE JOB, OR LOSE RUNNING FOR A POLITICAL POSITION, OR SENT TO JAIL ON WEAK EVIDENCE OR FOR SOMETHING BASED ON SHE SAID HE SAID, OR BECAUSE A BUNCH OF WHITE WOMEN LIED ABOUT SOMETHING THAT HAPPEN 30 YEARS AGO.. HELL PEOPLE CANNOT EVEN REMEMBER WHAT THEY ATE LAST MONTH.
    ITS TOO BAD OBAMA COULD NOT RUN AGAIN FOR PRESIDENCY OR HAVE STAYED IN OFFICE LONGER.

  4. Avatar

    NBA is fixed

    October 31, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    From 2009 to 2016, Barack Obama raised over $20 million dollars for the Democratic Party. How much money did he raise for black people? Don’t worry I’ll wait!

  5. Avatar

    NBA is fixed

    October 31, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    The black American culture can cancel Barack Obama because he did not give us reparations. He also turned his back on black men such as Eric Garner and Alton Sterling who were shot and killed by the police. Cancel Barack Obama and while we are at it, cancel Kamala Harris and the entire Congressional Black Caucus! #NoReparationsNoBlackVote

  6. Avatar

    James

    October 31, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    Obama wants to censor people….there are times when others need to be called out for their behaviors/words etc. For instance the politician wearing black face tells us that he/she is showing who they are and as the saying goes by Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. HE NEEDS TO STAY IN HIS LANE as he’s done nothing for Black people his eight years in office.

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