Rachel Sharp, Daily Mail, June 7, 2021
Barack Obama has admitted that cancel culture can go ‘overboard’ as he slammed Republicans who were ‘cowed into accepting’ Donald Trump’s false election fraud claims and accused conservative-leaning media of ‘stoking the fear and resentment’ of white Americans.
Obama spoke to CNN’s Anderson Cooper for an AC360 Special named ‘Barack Obama on Fatherhood, Leadership and Legacy’, which aired Monday night.
In the fawning interview with little or no follow-up questions, the former president spoke about fatherhood, the Trump administration and the racial justice movement.
The Democrat said that, while the nation’s history of slavery and racism still ‘linger and continue’, he believes cancel culture has its ‘dangers’.
Obama pointed to his own daughters Sasha, 19, and Malia, 22, who attended Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by white cop Derek Chauvin on Memorial Day 2020.
He said they – and their generation – are not willing to accept some things his generation tolerated.
‘I see in this generation that what you and I might have tolerated as that this sort of how things are, their attitude is why? Let’s change it,’ he said.
‘That’s among not just my daughters but among their white friends.
‘There is a sense of well, of course it not acceptable for a criminal justice system to be tainted by racism. Of course you can’t discriminate against somebody because of their sexual orientation.
‘There are things they take for granted that I want them to take for granted.’
Obama said he regarded this demand for change among the younger generations as part of his ‘legacy.’
He also blasted the Republican party for putting the debate about Critical Race Theory at the top of the political agenda instead of the likes of climate change or the economy.
‘You would think with all the public policy debates that are taking place right now that the Republican party would be engaged in a significant debate about how are we going to deal with the economy and what are we going to do about climate change,’ he said.
‘Low and behold the single most important issue to them apparently right now is Critical Race Theory. Who knew that was the threat to our Republic?’
Critical race theory examines the ways in which race and racism influence American politics, culture and the law.
Its entry into the nation’s education systems has divided opinion with Democrats typically in favor, while many Republicans vehemently oppose it.
The nation’s first and only black president said race and the nation’s history of slavery continues to be a key cause of division in the US and accused the conservative media of ‘stoking’ this division.
He said his comments saying the police ‘acted stupidly’ when they arrested black Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates at his home in 2009 led to the biggest dip in white voters of everything he did during his presidency.
‘It gives a sense of the degree to which these things are still deep in us. And, you know, sometimes unconscious,’ he said.
‘I also think that there are certain right wing media venues, for example, that monetize and capitalize on stoking the fear and resentment of a white population that is witnessing a change in America and seeing demographic changes and do everything they can to give people a sense that their way of life is threatened and that people are trying to take advantage of them.’
He added that he believes many white Americans find it hard to ‘recognize you can be proud of this country and its traditions and its history and our forefathers and yet, it is also true that this terrible stuff happened.’
‘The vestiges of that linger and continue,’ Obama said.