Obama busts masculinity myths at 'My Brother's Keeper' conference

20 February 2019 - 11:59 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Former US president Barack Obama addressed young black men at a "My Brother's Keeper" conference in California.
Former US president Barack Obama addressed young black men at a "My Brother's Keeper" conference in California.
Image: Masi Losi

Former US President Barack Obama addressed attendees at the "My Brother's Keeper" conference in California on Tuesday.

This is according to a report by HuffPost, Fox News and The Obama Foundation.

The two-day event celebrated five years since the initiative, which focuses on mentoring young black men, was started by the former US president

In his speech, Obama busted myths, particularly shared within the black community, about what it means to be a man.

Obama was in conversation with NBA star, Steven Curry. He said men must recognise that masculinity does not equate to being dominant over someone and putting them down. 

Instead, Obama said that being a good person is the solid foundation of manhood.

"All of us need to recognise that being a man is first and foremost being a good human. That means being responsible, reliable, working hard, being kind, compassionate."

Addressing the young black men who were in attendance, Obama emphasised the importance of men being confident enough in their own strength, so they don't harm others or themselves while seeking validation.

"If you're confident about your own strength, you don't have to show me by putting somebody else down. Show me by lifting somebody else up."

Obama also touched on the role played by racism in perpetuating toxic masculinity, as he said that historically, black men have been told that they are less than.

The mistake they then make in trying to compensate for their "inferiority" is they resort to things like violence which only harms them.


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