POTUS Says Black Lives Matter Movement “Can’t Just Keep On Yelling”
President Barack Obama issued a harsh critique to the Black Lives Matter movement while meeting with young people in Europe this weekend. During the town-hall style event, Obama encouraged students to get involved with social activism, but warned change is a slow, often arduous process.
After responding to one student’s claim his administration did very little to address racial profiling at airports, Obama then turned his response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Obama praised BLM for highlighting racial issues and bringing it to the attention of the masses, but he accused the movement for lack of follow through, and unwillingness to meet with political leaders.
“Once you’ve highlighted an issue and brought it to people’s attention and shined a spotlight, and elected officials or people who are in a position to start bringing about change are ready to sit down with you, then you can’t just keep on yelling at them,” Obama said. “And you can’t refuse to meet because that might compromise the purity of your position. The value of social movements and activism is to get you at the table, get you in the room, and then to start trying to figure out how is this problem going to be solved.”
Back In February, Civil Rights leaders and activists gathered at the White House, however, Aislinn Pulley from Chicago’s Black Lives Matter chapter was a no show and blasted the sit-down as merely a photo-op.
“I could not, with any integrity, participate in such a sham that would only serve to legitimize the false narrative that the government is working to end police brutality and the institutional racism that fuels it,” Pulley wrote.
Obama continued his critique by saying once you’ve entered, the room, it’s the responsibility of the movement to have an action plan.
“You then have a responsibility to prepare an agenda that is achievable, that can institutionalize the changes you seek, and to engage the other side, and occasionally to take half a loaf that will advance the gains that you seek, understanding that there’s going to be more work to do, but this is what is achievable at this moment,” he continued.