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Obama shoots down 'woke' political purists, derides cancel culture on social media and college campuses


"That's not activism. That's not bringing about change."

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama derided "woke" political purists and Twitter activists in a speech Tuesday at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago.

"This idea of purity and you're never compromised and you're politically woke, and all that stuff — you should get over that quickly," Obama told the audience.

"The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws," he added.

"People who you are fighting may love their kids, and you know, share certain things with you," Obama concluded.

"One danger I see among young people particularly on college campuses," he continued, "I do get a sense sometimes now among certain young people, and this is accelerated by social media, there is this sense sometimes 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 sit back and feel pretty good about myself. 'Cuz man, did you see how woke I was? I called you out!'" he joked.

"That's not activism. That's not bringing about change," Obama continued.

"If all you're doing is casting stones," he said, "you know, you're probably not going to get that far. That's easy to do."

Obama received loud acclaim from the audience after his statement.

Here's the video of his statement:

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