Obama Dismisses ‘Woke’ Culture, ‘Purity’ Tests as Politically Naive: ‘That’s Not Bringing About Change’


Former President Barack Obama took several not-so-subtle shots at “woke” culture and “purity” tests as both politically naive and ineffective during his foundation’s third annual summit in Chicago: “That’s not activism, that’s not bringing about change.”

CNN’s Don Lemon broadcast a clip on his primetime show of Obama’s talk on Tuesday, in which the former 44th president evoked the 42nd president’s ‘Sister Souljah’ moment, calling out what he perceived as counterproductive, extremist views from the far left.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, “took audience questions and spoke about empowering the next generation of leaders. They also talked about racism and how to be effective political activists,” Lemon said, teeing up the clip.

“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,” Obama said dismissively, prompting chuckles from the audience. “The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. Like if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or used the wrong verb or then, I can sit back and feel good about myself: ‘You see how woke I was? I called you out.’ Get on TV. Watch my show. Watch Grownish. You know, that’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change.”

Coming back to the studio, Lemon asked former Obama aide, Jen Psaki, if the former president’s message was aimed at Democrats.

“I think, in part. People running and for the party,” she said. “I think, at times. the reaction to [President] Donald Trump has been to put out the purity tests that say if you don’t meet these bars and not with me on every issue and don’t check every box, you can’t be a part of the party.”

“If we are launching purity tests and say ‘You can’t be a part of us,’ we’ll have such a small party, we won’t be able to win,” Psaki added. “Governing is not about saying ‘You don’t agree with me, you can’t be part of the conversation.’ That was important, I think, for people to hear. Governing, especially, is about compromise. And not letting the perfect be enemy of the good.”

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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