Barack Obama Talks The Damaging Effects Of Toxic Masculinity
"If you’re confident about your strength, you don’t need to show me by putting somebody else down.”
Former President Barack Obama and Golden State Warrior Steph Curry spoke about the importance of creating vulnerable spaces for young boys and men, specifically of color, at the annual My Brother's Keeper summit in Oakland.
“The notion that somehow defining yourself as a man is dependent on, are you able to put somebody else down… able to dominate… that is an old view,” Obama said.
The initiative, which was launched in 2014, is aimed at closing the opportunity gap for boys of color by connecting them with mentors in their desired fields.
Obama, who introduced himself as "Michelle's Husband" and referred to Curry as "Ayesha's Husband," was surrounded on stage by several young men who traveled from Yonkers, New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville.
The former president also spoke on how racism plays a factor in why young men feel the need to use aggression to "prove" themselves.
“Racism historically in this society sends a message that you are ‘less than,’ ” Obama said. “We feel we have to compensate by exaggerating stereotypical ways men are supposed to act. And that’s a trap.”
Along with racism, Obama spoke on how some hip-hop songs perpetuate a negative stereotype of black men as well.
“Ironically, that shows the vulnerability you feel,” Obama said. “If you were very confident about your sexuality, you don’t have to have eight women around you twerking… you seem stressed that you gotta be acting that way.”
“I got one woman who I’m very happy with,” he added."