Why Sasha And Malia's Gen Z Activism Sometimes Scares Barack Obama

From the moment Former President Barack Obama stepped into office, he stressed the importance of the younger generation in politics. Throughout Barack's tenure, he encouraged the country's youth to be vocal about their political views and aspirations. So, it's only natural that the skilled orator's passion would carry onto his daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama, who notably joined the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality. Likewise, then-18-year-old Malia participated in a 2017 Dakota Access Pipeline protest to protect the environment and safeguard tribal water resources.

Naturally, Barack couldn't be prouder. In an interview with People, he confirmed that he didn't have to push his daughters into activism because they inherently knew how to make their voices heard. The former president also clarified that they joined the BLM demonstrations as organizers to keep the spotlight off them. While speaking to Anderson Cooper (via CNN), Barack also shared that his daughters' activism worries him, albeit in a good way: "I always worry about their physical safety; that's just the nature of fatherhood ... But in terms of them having a good sense of what's right and wrong, and their part and role to play in making the country better, I don't worry about that." 

He proudly added that Malia and Sasha aren't just taking on activism to express their disdain for flawed systems but to find strategic ways to change them through active engagement. And they inadvertently have; after showing his support for same-sex marriage, Barack revealed that his daughters inspired the change by simply viewing their friends' same-sex parents as equals to their own heterosexual parents. 

The Obama family doesn't indulge in cancel culture

While he continues to encourage the American youth to stand up for their beliefs, Barack Obama also discourages them from falling prey to cancel culture. In a 2019 interview for the Obama Foundation summit, he expressed that cancel culture isn't a way to fix problems but a self-serving means for people to show their righteousness. Barack added that this concept doesn't make sense in the real world because people's actions are often morally gray and not inherently good or bad like the internet implies. 

In Barack's opinion, this thinking only fuels judgment instead of paving the way for meaningful change. And his daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama, share the same perspective. In the Anderson Cooper interview, Barack shared the family's thoughts: "We don't expect everybody to be perfect, we don't expect everybody to be politically correct all the time." He added, "But we are going to call out institutions or individuals if they are being cruel if they are discriminating against people. We do want to raise awareness."

Meanwhile, when the outspoken politician was interviewed by People, he offered more insight into Malia and Sasha's feelings about activism. Like most of the younger generation, his daughters simply want to speak out about blatant wrongs and find ways to solve them. He added that their approach goes beyond just an Instagram post or a march because they accept that meaningful change takes time and effort. And they're willing to offer both. 

Barack Obama is glad the younger generation is so vocal

Although Malia and Sasha Obama are pretty independent when it comes to activism, they do occasionally ask their father for advice. As Barack Obama explained to People, there are certain instances when they still come to him for help: "I think a couple of times they asked for sort of very specific suggestions about what would be the best way to communicate X or what would be the most useful thing that, if we were mobilizing a whole bunch of friends, to have an impact, what should we be doing?"

Barack also told the outlet that his daughters represent a generation that's increasingly hungry for change. He's thrilled that there's been such a switch in younger people's minds where they're striving to do something more meaningful instead of blindly following the standard path that's been set out for them. The former president also told Anderson Cooper that he appreciates how his daughters look set to carry on his legacy. 

"A great source of my optimism, when people talk about ... how do I think about my legacy? Part of it is the kids who were raised during the eight years that I was president, there are a bunch of basic assumptions they made what the country can and should be that I think are still sticking," Barack said. "They still believe it. And they're willing to work for it." And that might be why Barack continues to encourage the younger generation to stay angry about climate change and other pressing issues.