Are we expected to be perfect? That is the question many Americans ask themselves every time they want to share a thought or voice an opinion, in an era where accountability seems to know no statute of limitations. In a recent sit-down interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, former President Barack Obama shared his thoughts on this generation’s recent lean in on the concept of cancel culture, and how he’s navigated conversations about the trend with his two daughters.
Yes, no longer are the former First Daughters little girls: Sasha Obama, 19, is a student at the University of Michigan and her older sister Malia, 22, is studying at Harvard. Both are politically active, both are part of a generation that is incredibly active in social change like never before, and both are vocal with their dad on their views on where the country is headed. “I see in this generation that, what you and I might have tolerated as ‘yeah thats how things are,’ their attitude is, ‘why and let’s change it,'” Obama shared with Anderson.
But Obama acknowledges that with that strive for change has come this concept of “cancel culture,” a movement meant to hold those in positions of power accountable for any indiscretions. However, while certain behaviors are never acceptable and deserved to be called into question, Obama told Anderson that his girls that they’ll acknowledge some people may go overboard in their activism, “canceling” anyone that believes differently than they do. He makes it clear that what he sees in his daughters and their friends, is not a demand for perfection, but rightful accountability.
“At least in conversations with my daughter, I think that a lot of the dangers of cancel culture is we’re just going to be condemning people all the time. At least among my daughters, they will acknowledge sometimes among their peer group or in college campuses, you’ll see folks going overboard.” He then added, “They have a pretty good sense of look, we don’t expect everybody to be perfect…politically correct all the time…but we are gonna call out institutions, if they are being cruel and discriminating against people.”
Many famous celebrities in Hollywood have been on the receiving end of cancel culture for past indiscretions. Most recently model and TV personality Chrissy Teigen, has been receiving backlash for resurfaced old tweets where she publicly bullied Courtney Stodden. But while Obama’s daughters might be having these conversations, they’re clearly more focused on taking action.
This past year, the world witness as Americans from coast to coast joined in solidarity to protest against racism and discrimination. When asked by Anderson if he was worried about his daughters participating in protests, such as BLM, Obama admitted that as their dad, he’ll always worry about them, no matter what they do. “I always worry about their physical safety, that’s just the nature of fatherhood — but in terms of them having a good sense of what is right and wrong and their part and role to play in making the country better, I don’t worry about that.”
If Sasha and Malia ever plan to follow their dad’s footsteps and go into public service. Then the future is looking very bright indeed.