Encourage conspiracy theories and fact-based debates – variety3 min read
Former U.S. President Barack Obama was one of the many celebrities to speak at YouTube’s “Favorite Class 2020” virtual graduation ceremony on Sunday, and his speech included calls for graduate class action.
He told graduates how they were “graduating in a world that faces more profound challenges than any generation in decades.”
“The challenges we faced were better than the virus, and the old routine was not good enough. “It doesn’t work very well,” he said. “In many ways, the epidemic has focused on growing problems for a very long time, exacerbating economic inequalities, the lack of basic health care for millions of people, the continuing deadly problem of bigotry and sexism, or the divisions and unemployment that plague our political system. Similarly the protests and reactions to the murders of George Floyd, Brecona Taylor, Ahmed Arberry and Nina Pop are not just a reaction to that particular tragedy, as heartbreaking. They have spoken of decades of values and frustration for unequal treatment and have failed to reform police practice and the larger criminal justice system. This push for the systems we see in the moment, as you prepare to go to earth, reminds us that we can’t take things for granted. We need to work to make things better. “
Obama spoke to the new generation with pride for their activism.
“It was incredibly inspiring to see so many of you take part in peaceful protests, to see so many of you in every nation and background raise your voice for justice. You have made me optimistic about our future, ”he said.
The former president also spoke about the importance of verifying information, especially in the age of social media.
“Use the critical thinking you have created from your education to help spread the truth,” he said. “You are the internet generation and the social media generation. It’s not how you shop, or listen to music or watch videos, it’s part of your social life, it’s the new city class where you all get together. In many ways it is an amazing tool. You have access to more information in your pocket than any other history group. It allows like-minded people to move for good reason.
However, he said that social media can also be used to spread misinformation and conspiracy theories.
“What has become clear is that social media can also be a tool for spreading conflict, division and lies, gossiping and spreading hatred.” “Often it pushes us away from each other rather than uniting us, in part because it gives us the ability to pick our own reality, different than truth or science or logic or common sense. We just start reading news and opinions that reinforce our own biases. We start canceling everything else. We regard opinions as true and we consider even the wildest conspiracy theories worthy of consideration. The irony is that usually people who lie on the internet or social media are doing it for their own purposes: either to sell you something or to take the subject away from the real thing. You can change it. If a friend calls you Kavid-19 a hoax, politely correct them. If an elderly relative quotes some video to promote a racist stereotype, show him or her why the video is embarrassing. As a generation that understands social media and technology much better than anyone else, you will create online cultures and communities that respect differences of opinion and freedom of speech, and the honest, informed, truth-based debate that is the key to addressing the challenges we face. “
Obama was one of more than 0 celebrities, influencers and musicians to attend the event. Other notable contributors included BTS, Beyonc,, Lizo and Lady Gaga.
Michelle Obama also spoke about activism during her speech before the program.
“If you’re just spending a lot of time on hash tagging and posting, it’s especially effective during epidemics, but it’s just a start,” he said. “Go further. Send a link to all your friends to vote. Send everyone you know to join you in exercising your constitutional right to protest. “
The pair also spoke at the top of the program, briefly welcoming the graduates.
“2020’s Favorite Class” is one of the many virtual graduation ceremonies held to celebrate the class of 2020. The event was originally scheduled for June 6, but YouTube rescheduled it the next day in honor of George’s Memorial. Police officers were killed in Minneapolis.
See live stream here.