Original Post from That Professor Life

“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.”

Who is that speaking? Donald Trump? Jeff Bezos? 

Nope! It was Barack Obama… one of my personal champions in the political world and someone I miss dearly. Someone who is a beacon of positivity, not someone typically targeted by cancel culture.

Below is the full video (not sure if it will load) and the link below that 


Obama was talking about “cancel culture.” He stated that the danger of being too “judgmental” of people on social media is something he sees “particularly on college campuses”, and has been “accelerated by social media”. He didn’t use those words, “cancel culture” I think because they weren’t as popular then, and a few podcasters I listened to said he just may not have been as in tune with the phrase. 

“There is this sense sometimes of, ‘The way of me making change is to be as judgemental as possible about other people.’ And that’s enough.” 

– President Barack Obama

These quotes are from a few year ago. But, are they still relevant today? Cancel culture is typically prevalent in liberal communities, ones that I belong to (this has been repeated over and over by multiple radio shows and podcasters- It’s not my original thought. But, no I don’t have empirical evidence). So, it’s interesting to see one of the most powerful liberal minds of our generation discount the “cancel.” 

“Like 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. ‘Cause, ‘Man, you see how woke I was? I called you out’.”

– President Barack Obama

President Obama. (is it Former President or President? I feel like you always keep that title?) added that the form of behavior described is not effective when a person is trying to make a positive impact. This is, of course, his opinion. 

We’re finding out, more and more, that folks are using “cancel culture” or “canceling” people they don’t like. Look, there are some great reasons we need to cancel VERY FEW folks. But, this is something that I feel is being overused for the following reasons: 

  • We’ve been hurt and we want to hurt someone else
  • We are virtue signaling and trying to prove we are “woke”
  • We are feeling guilty or nervous about our own flaws

But, completely canceling someone for making an error is a lapse in judgment. This is particularly growing dangerous as we have more time on our hands/less work as the unemployment rate stays fairly stagnant in the US. More time to read and research. More time to focus on things. More energy to devote and more ANGER about what’s going on in the world. 

Let me be clear…. it’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to be an activist. 

But, cancel culture should be reserved (as it’s powerful) for the few people who are truly deserving. It’s a once a year (if that) kind of thing. Ruining someone on the internet because they made a mistake is called something else…


Otherwise we do a few things: 

  • Water down the “cancel” for when it makes sense to use
  • Creates an anxiety online that is incomprehensible 
  • Hurts people 
  • Makes us look fanatic or manic when we may not want to look that way (nothing wrong with mental illness, but perhaps we should save that for when we have actual symptoms or episodes)

Why, even this site has been canceled by some folks and unable to be displayed on social media pages. Was that necessary? 

But, this isn’t about me. It’s about you. My opinion: I agree with President Obama. If you want to create positive change, don’t do it with negative actions. Cancel the cancel culture.