VIDEO: Obama sends blistering message to 'woke,' 'judgmental,' college students

  • Speaking at his foundation’s summit, former President Obama slammed cancel culture found on college campuses.
  • He also criticized the need to be “judgmental” and “woke."

At the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago, former President Barack Obama slammed the "cancel culture" at colleges and on social media. 

According to Macmillan Dictionary, cancel culture is “the practice of no longer supporting people, especially celebrities, or products that are regarded as unacceptable or problematic.” 

"The world is messy. There are ambiguities."   

“One danger I see among young people, particularly on college campuses...I do get a sense sometimes now among certain young people—and this is accelerated by social media—there is this sense sometimes of the way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people and that’s enough,” Obama said. 

Obama also commented on virtue-signaling behavior, which he suggested has contributed to the cancel culture. 


“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,” Obama added. “‘Cuz man, did you see how woke I was? I called you out!’...That’s not activism.”

[RELATED: Higher ed's Chick-fil-A bans and boycotts are no match for fast food chain's sales]

He also told the audience that there are “ambiguities,” and criticized the idea of “purity” in the public sphere. 

“This idea of purity, that you’re never compromised and you’re always politically should get over that quickly,” Obama argued. “The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws.” 

[RELATED: Cornell dorm display encourages students to 'stay woke']

Commentators and celebrities from across the political spectrum praised Obama for his remarks. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @eduneret

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Eduardo Neret
Eduardo Neret | Digital Reporter

Eduardo Neret is a digital reporter for Campus Reform. Prior to taking on his current position, Eduardo served as the Senior Florida Correspondent for Campus Reform and founded a conservative web publication where he hosted a series of interviews with notable conservative commentators and public figures. Eduardo’s work has appeared on the Fox News Channel,, The Washington Examiner, Daily Caller, The Drudge Report, The Blaze, and The Daily Wire. He most recently served as a contributor to the Red Alert Politics section of The Washington Examiner. In addition to his independent journalism, Neret also previously worked at the Department of Justice and the Fox News Channel. He has appeared on numerous radio programs and NewsMaxTV to discuss his work and comment on relevant political issues.

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