Writers bashed former President Barack Obama after he criticized “woke” social justice warriors during a speech Tuesday.
Obama spoke at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago and hit back at alleged activists who attack other people on the internet because of their “flaws,” according to the former president. His comments saw bipartisan support, but some liberals disagreed with his thought that this rhetoric is “not activism.”
Journalist Ernest Owens wrote that he “gasped” when he heard Obama’s comments and called the former president’s views that of a “boomer” in an op-ed featured in The New York Times Friday.
“But the former president’s disdain for the kind of criticism that has become popular to dismiss as ‘cancel culture’ … is misguided,” Ernst wrote, adding:
His eagerness to dismiss one part of what happens when young people stand up for what they believe in as “casting stones” is a reminder of a largely generational divide about whether it’s impolite to speak out in favor of the most vulnerable among us and the world we’d like to live in. While there’s some debate about which generation Mr. Obama belongs to, he’s solidly in the older camp.
Ernst wrote that boomers like Obama “are going to have to get over” the younger generation’s choice to use social media as a platform to discuss views. Ernst also noted that he has been one to “critique powerful people for promoting bigotry or harming others.” He added:
I can assure you it wasn’t because they had “different opinions.” It was because they were spreading the kinds of ideas that contribute to the marginalization of people like me and those I care about. It was because I didn’t want them to have a no-questions-asked platform to do this.
The op-ed also read that “Millennials and Gen-Zers are doing what we can to take down the Goliath many of our parents have been rightfully casting stones at for decades,” adding that the younger generation plans to “keep using” this method and platform to “democratize public debates.”
Malaika Jabali, an activist and writer, also hit back at Obama for his comments on “woke” culture, writing that the president doesn’t understand that kids “want progress” in an op-ed published in The Guardian Friday.
“The former president took black and progressive movements to task, without understanding his own failure to deliver change,” Jabali wrote.