This idyllic Georgian home in Kilkenny with artist’s studio and stone cottage is on the market for €1.3 million
This idyllic Georgian home in Kilkenny with artist’s studio and stone cottage is on the...

Megan Burns

5 signs your relationship has run its course, according to experts
5 signs your relationship has run its course, according to experts

IMAGE

Khloe Kardashian picture: It’s time to take a step back and see how warped this has all become
Khloe Kardashian picture: It’s time to take a step back and see how warped this...

Amanda Cassidy

Operation Forth Bridge: What’s expected following Prince Philip’s death
Operation Forth Bridge: What’s expected following Prince Philip’s death

Jennifer McShane

The menopause is the toughest challenge your skin will ever face: Here are products that will help
The menopause is the toughest challenge your skin will ever face: Here are products that...

Helen Seymour

‘To be depressed after the birth of my son felt selfish. I felt ashamed about the burden I placed on my wife’
‘To be depressed after the birth of my son felt selfish. I felt ashamed about...

Amanda Cassidy

6 inspiring TED talks worth watching this weekend
6 inspiring TED talks worth watching this weekend

Jennifer McShane

Image / Editorial

WATCH: Barack Obama’s comments on ‘woke culture’ are so true


by Jennifer McShane
31st Oct 2019
blank

Being ‘woke’ is important in 2019. That we are culturally, socially and environmentally aware is crucial if we are to bring about real tangible action and change. But as former US President Barack Obama pointed out this week, it’s not as simple as that  


Who knew we’d have young activists like Greta Thunberg setting an example of what it means to be ‘woke’ in 2019? For those who may be unfamiliar, ‘woke’ is described as being alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice, along with being aware of what’s going on in the community.

We’re seeing it in the youngest generations; that need and want for action, for a better life, for something other than what we are presented with. Why shouldn’t we strive for more, for something better? After all, future generations depend on us too – simply ‘living in the moment,’ focused on ourselves does not cut it.

Related: WATCH: ‘We’re a team’: Greta Thunberg meets Barack Obama

But being woke is more than retweeting a hashtag or challenging someone on social media as Barack Obama eloquently pointed out. He challenged its very concept at the Obama Foundation’s annual summit in Chicago this week.

Because the other side of this is extreme shaming and trolling, all under the guise of being correct – at least on social media.

Calling people out on social media did not bring about change, he insisted, because change in itself was too complex to be that easily defined.

Forget cancel culture

Participating in cancel culture is also not the way to do it.

“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,” he said. “The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids.”

“I get a sense among certain young people on social media that the way of making change is to be as judgemental as possible about other people. And that, that’s enough.” 

“If I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or used the wrong verb, then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself because ‘Man did you see how woke I was? I called you out!'”

“[But] If all you’re doing is casting stones, you are probably not going to get that far. That’s not activism.”

Oh Barack Obama, how we miss you and your wise words.

Main photograph: @Stylist


More like this:

RelatedBarack and Michelle Obama announce Netflix projects

RelatedHaving it all? Michelle Obama thinks Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘leaning in’ just doesn’t work

Also Read

Keith-_-Tara_130_Web Shantanu Starick painting kitchen cabinets
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost,...

By Amanda Kavanagh

Women with MS who take medication, especially immunosuppressants, cannot become pregnant unless they come off medication.
premium HEALTH & WELLNESS, REAL-LIFE STORIES
I had to weigh up the possibility of losing my mind against losing my future children

Holograms of the children she may never have dance across Dearbhla Crosses' mind as an MS diagnosis and Covid-19 are unwelcome reminders of her biological clock ticking.

By Dearbhla Crosse

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Social media’s obsession with filtering faces is a form of self-gaslighting’

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
Is marketplace feminism stealing the limelight from real female-driven issues?

‘Femertising’ is big business. Brands are increasingly taking advantage of...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
Here’s how you can watch a new short film starring Paul Mescal

Paul Mescal fans, this one is for you… A 14-minute...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
EDITORIAL
MHQ: ‘Before we put more countries on the list, we must know how they will be taken off’

By Amanda Cassidy

Monica Lewinsky
RELATIONSHIPS
Monica Lewinsky will soon get to talk of scandal on her terms

It was on this day, January 17th, 1998, when news...

By Jennifer McShane

Rosanna Davidson and her twin boys
premium REAL-LIFE STORIES, PARENTHOOD
Rosanna Davidson: ‘I had sort of accepted that I was a girl who couldn’t have a baby herself’

For Mother's Day Lia Hynes sits down with Rosanna Davidson, whose exceptional journey into motherhood has given many hope.

By Lia Hynes