CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – OCTOBER 29: Actress Yara Shahidi speaks to guests at the Obama Foundation Summit on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology on October 29, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. The Summit is an annual event hosted by the Obama Foundation. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Nineteen-year-old Grown-ish actor, activist and Harvard University student Yara Shahidi sat down with former President of the United States Barack Obama today at The Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago. Shahidi, who attends Harvard with Obama’s daughter Malia, cautioned fellow college students against publicly shaming people on Twitter.

The discussion was titled ‘What can I do where I am?’ and what not to do was made extremely clear: Activism is not about being as judgemental as possible. Translation: Cancel culture is not cool.

“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 because, man, you see how woke I was?” Obama explained. “You know, that’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change. If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far.”

“I do get a sense sometimes now among certain young people — and this is accelerated by social media — there is this sense sometimes of ‘the way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people,’” Obama said. “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. The world is messy, there are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids and share certain things with you.”

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