Former President Barack Obama has seemingly turned on identity politics and the notion of “intersectionality” — the idea that some people have more layers of oppression than others and are therefore more qualified to speak on issues of race, gender, etc.
While speaking in Johannesburg, South Africa, at an event honoring the 100thanniversary of the late Nelson Mandela’s birth, Obama implored the audience to listen to those who are not like us.
“Democracy demands that we’re able also to get inside the reality of people who are different than us, so we can understand their point of view,” Obama said. “Maybe we can change their minds but maybe they’ll change ours.”
He added that we shouldn’t dismiss what others have to say based on their gender or skin color.
“And you can’t do this if you just out-of-hand disregard what your opponents have to say from the start,” he said. “You can’t do it if you insist that those who aren’t like you because they’re white, or because they’re male; that somehow there’s no way they can understand what I’m feeling. That somehow they lack standing to speak on certain matters.”
Democrats lost white males by a (slightly) wider margin in 2016 than they did in 2008. Much of the 2016 autopsy has focused on the white working class, and how identity politics has driven many away from the Democratic Party.
We see the problem play out on social media and in college campuses, where white students — especially white men — are told to stand down and allow “marginalized” students to speak instead. Last year, Evergreen State College melted down after students requested a “Day of Absence” — a yearly event asking white students to stay off campus for the day.
Obama has previously implored college students to listen to other points of viewinstead of trying to keep them from speaking, but this appears to be the first time he has extended that view to the general public regarding race and sex.
Still, this is the same man who told Republicans to “sit in back” while he and the Democrats worked on the economy — eight days before a wave election that gave Republicans the House of Representatives.
Watch Obama’s recent remarks:
Pres. Obama: Democracy demands getting inside "the reality of people who are different than us."
"You can't do it if you insist that those who aren't like you because they're white, or because they're male…that somehow they lack standing to speak on certain matters." pic.twitter.com/NHPR9cQmpQ
— ABC News (@ABC) July 17, 2018
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