Obama reflects on Becoming a Man program: 'I understood what it means to be' an outsider

Obama reflects on Becoming a Man program: ‘I understood what it means to be’ an outsider

Obama criticizes Republicans for embracing 2020 falsehoods By Dan Merica, CNNUpdated 0109 GMT (0909 HKT) June 8, 2021 ‘use strict’;CNN.Videx = CNN.Videx || {};CNN.Videx.mobile = {};CNN.INJECTOR.executeFeature(‘video’).then(function () {CNN.VideoPlayer.handleUnmutePlayer = function handleUnmutePlayer(containerId, dataObj) {‘use strict’;var playerInstance,playerPropertyObj,rememberTime,unmuteCTA,unmuteIdSelector = ‘unmute_’ + containerId,isPlayerMute;dataObj = dataObj || {};if (CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibraryName(containerId) === ‘fave’) {playerInstance = FAVE.player.getInstance(containerId) || null;} else {playerInstance = containerId && window.cnnVideoManager.getPlayerByContainer(containerId).videoInstance.cvp || null;}isPlayerMute = (typeof dataObj.muted === ‘boolean’) ? dataObj.muted : false;if (CNN.VideoPlayer.playerProperties && CNN.VideoPlayer.playerProperties[containerId]) {playerPropertyObj = CNN.VideoPlayer.playerProperties[containerId];}if (playerPropertyObj.mute && playerPropertyObj.contentPlayed) {if (isPlayerMute === false) {unmuteCTA = jQuery(document.getElementById(unmuteIdSelector));playerInstance.unmute();if (unmuteCTA.length > 0) {unmuteCTA.removeClass(‘video__unmute–active’).addClass(‘video__unmute–inactive’);unmuteCTA.off(‘click’);rememberTime = 0;if (rememberTime 0) {$vidEndSlate.find(‘.l-container’).html(‘ ‘);$vidEndSlate.removeClass(‘video__end-slate–inactive’).addClass(‘video__end-slate–active’);}};CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;var configObj = {thumb: ‘none’,video: ‘politics/2021/06/07/barack-obama-anderson-cooper-ac360-special-gop-2020-falsehoods-sot-vpx.cnn’,width: ‘100%’,height: ‘100%’,section: ‘international’,profile: ‘expansion’,network: ‘cnn’,markupId: ‘large-media_0’,adsection: ‘const-article-carousel-pagetop’,frameWidth: ‘100%’,frameHeight: ‘100%’,posterImageOverride: {“mini”:{“width”:220,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210607163024-obama-anderson-cooper-interview-screengrab-02-small-169.jpg”,”height”:124},”xsmall”:{“width”:307,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210607163024-obama-anderson-cooper-interview-screengrab-02-medium-plus-169.jpg”,”height”:173},”small”:{“width”:460,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210607163024-obama-anderson-cooper-interview-screengrab-02-large-169.jpg”,”height”:259},”medium”:{“width”:780,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210607163024-obama-anderson-cooper-interview-screengrab-02-exlarge-169.jpg”,”height”:438},”large”:{“width”:1100,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210607163024-obama-anderson-cooper-interview-screengrab-02-super-169.jpg”,”height”:619},”full16x9″:{“width”:1600,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210607163024-obama-anderson-cooper-interview-screengrab-02-full-169.jpg”,”height”:900},”mini1x1″:{“width”:120,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210607163024-obama-anderson-cooper-interview-screengrab-02-small-11.jpg”,”height”:120}}},autoStartVideo = false,isVideoReplayClicked = false,callbackObj,containerEl,currentVideoCollection = [{“title”:”Obama criticizes Republicans for embracing 2020 falsehoods”,”duration”:”03:55″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/06/07/barack-obama-anderson-cooper-ac360-special-gop-2020-falsehoods-sot-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/06/07/barack-obama-anderson-cooper-ac360-special-gop-2020-falsehoods-sot-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210607163024-obama-anderson-cooper-interview-screengrab-02-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/06/07/barack-obama-anderson-cooper-ac360-special-gop-2020-falsehoods-sot-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Former President Barack Obama says Republicans have been “cowed into accepting” a series of positions that “would be unrecognizable and unacceptable even five years ago or a decade ago,” telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper he is worried about the state of democracy in the US.”,”descriptionText”:”Former President Barack Obama says Republicans have been “cowed into accepting” a series of positions that “would be unrecognizable and unacceptable even five years ago or a decade ago,” telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper he is worried about the state of democracy in the US.”},{“title”:”Ocasio-Cortez calls out Kamala Harris after speech”,”duration”:”03:04″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/06/07/ocasio-cortez-kamala-harris-guatemala-speech.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/06/07/ocasio-cortez-kamala-harris-guatemala-speech.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210607195234-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-kamala-harris-split-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/06/07/ocasio-cortez-kamala-harris-guatemala-speech.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Rep. 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Joe Manchin (D-WV) has put in writing that he will not vote to end the filibuster nor will he vote for the Democrat voting rights plan, the For The People Act. CNN’s Brianna Keilar has the story.”,”descriptionText”:”Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has put in writing that he will not vote to end the filibuster nor will he vote for the Democrat voting rights plan, the For The People Act. 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CNN’s u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/profiles/jessica-schneider-profile” target=”_blank”>Jessica Schneideru003c/a> explains the case.”},{“title”:”Trump’s ‘ironic’ rally soundtrack stuns Keilar and Berman”,”duration”:”05:38″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/06/07/the-soundtrack-of-trump-rallies-keilar-berman-newday-sot-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/06/07/the-soundtrack-of-trump-rallies-keilar-berman-newday-sot-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210607102040-john-berman-brianna-keilar-split-january-7-2021-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/06/07/the-soundtrack-of-trump-rallies-keilar-berman-newday-sot-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”CNN’s John Berman and Brianna Keilar point out the irony in many of the songs former President Donald Trump used prior to a speech at a rally in North Carolina.”,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s John Berman and Brianna Keilar point out the irony in many of the songs former President Donald Trump used prior to a speech at a rally in North Carolina.”},{“title”:”‘The new Mitch McConnell’: Democrat slams Sen. Joe Manchin”,”duration”:”02:43″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/06/07/jamaal-bowman-manchin-new-mitch-mcconnell-sot-newday-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/06/07/jamaal-bowman-manchin-new-mitch-mcconnell-sot-newday-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210607080038-jamaal-bowman-joe-manchin-split-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/06/07/jamaal-bowman-manchin-new-mitch-mcconnell-sot-newday-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), a progressive, says that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is the “new Mitch McConnell” after the Democratic West Virginia senator declared in an op-ed that he would be voting against the House bill to expand voting rights and eliminating the filibuster.”,”descriptionText”:”Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), a progressive, says that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is the “new Mitch McConnell” after the Democratic West Virginia senator declared in an op-ed that he would be voting against the House bill to expand voting rights and eliminating the filibuster.”},{“title”:”GOP lawmaker seen coaching people on how to breach Oregon capitol”,”duration”:”02:41″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/06/07/oregon-state-lawmaker-mike-nearman-seen-coaching-capitol-protesters-jarrett-nd-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/06/07/oregon-state-lawmaker-mike-nearman-seen-coaching-capitol-protesters-jarrett-nd-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210607075148-oregon-state-lawmaker-mike-nearman-seen-coaching-capitol-protesters-jarrett-nd-vpx-00010828-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/06/07/oregon-state-lawmaker-mike-nearman-seen-coaching-capitol-protesters-jarrett-nd-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Oregon State Rep. Mike Nearman, a Republican who is accused of allowing protesters into the closed state Capitol building while lawmakers were debating Covid-19 restrictions, u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/06/politics/mike-nearman-oregon-video/index.html” target=”_blank”>is seen in new video, appearing to give insights on how to access the Capitol.u003c/a>”,”descriptionText”:”Oregon State Rep. Mike Nearman, a Republican who is accused of allowing protesters into the closed state Capitol building while lawmakers were debating Covid-19 restrictions, u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/06/politics/mike-nearman-oregon-video/index.html” target=”_blank”>is seen in new video, appearing to give insights on how to access the Capitol.u003c/a>”},{“title”:”Why Atlanta’s richest neighborhood wants to secede from the city”,”duration”:”03:12″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/us/2021/06/07/buckhead-wants-to-secede-from-city-of-atlanta-crime-rate-young-pkg-nd-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”us/2021/06/07/buckhead-wants-to-secede-from-city-of-atlanta-crime-rate-young-pkg-nd-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210603164222-buckhead-atlanta-skyline-stock-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/us/2021/06/07/buckhead-wants-to-secede-from-city-of-atlanta-crime-rate-young-pkg-nd-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”A movement in Buckhead, Atlanta, the city’s wealthiest neighborhood comprised of predominately White residents, is working to u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/07/us/atlanta-buckhead-city-movement/index.html” target=”_blank”>secede in order to form its own cityu003c/a> due to a rise in crime.”,”descriptionText”:”A movement in Buckhead, Atlanta, the city’s wealthiest neighborhood comprised of predominately White residents, is working to u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/07/us/atlanta-buckhead-city-movement/index.html” target=”_blank”>secede in order to form its own cityu003c/a> due to a rise in crime.”},{“title”:”Axelrod: Cheney believes this is a crisis for the GOP”,”duration”:”05:00″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/06/07/david-axelrod-liz-cheney-gop-voting-donald-trump-newday-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/06/07/david-axelrod-liz-cheney-gop-voting-donald-trump-newday-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210607080558-david-axelrod-0607-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/06/07/david-axelrod-liz-cheney-gop-voting-donald-trump-newday-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”CNN’s David Axelrod joins New Day to talk about Liz Cheney’s (R-WY) comments from u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/audio/podcasts/axe-files?episodeguid=86782b30-e750-470e-8781-ad3f01771e12″ target=”_blank”>u003cem>The Axe Filesu003c/em>u003c/a> on Republican house members voting against impeachment out of fear for their own safety.”,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s David Axelrod joins New Day to talk about Liz Cheney’s (R-WY) comments from u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/audio/podcasts/axe-files?episodeguid=86782b30-e750-470e-8781-ad3f01771e12″ target=”_blank”>u003cem>The Axe Filesu003c/em>u003c/a> on Republican house members voting against impeachment out of fear for their own safety.”},{“title”:”Liz Cheney: What Trump did is ‘the most egregious violation'”,”duration”:”02:46″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/06/07/liz-cheney-trump-january-6th-kevin-mccarthy-newday-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/06/07/liz-cheney-trump-january-6th-kevin-mccarthy-newday-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210503055421-liz-cheney-donald-trump-split-for-video-large-16-9.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/06/07/liz-cheney-trump-january-6th-kevin-mccarthy-newday-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) shares her thoughts on the aftermath of the January 6th insurrection with CNN’s David Axelrod on his podcast, “The Axe Files”.”,”descriptionText”:”Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) shares her thoughts on the aftermath of the January 6th insurrection with CNN’s David Axelrod on his podcast, “The Axe Files”.”},{“title”:”Psaki: I can’t let briefings become a forum for propaganda”,”duration”:”01:00″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/media/2021/06/06/jen-psaki-white-house-press-briefings-no-propaganda-rs-sot-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”media/2021/06/06/jen-psaki-white-house-press-briefings-no-propaganda-rs-sot-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210606121904-jen-psaki-white-house-press-briefings-no-propaganda-rs-sot-vpx- -large-169.jpeg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/media/2021/06/06/jen-psaki-white-house-press-briefings-no-propaganda-rs-sot-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”White House press secretary Jen Psaki tells CNN’s Brian Stelter she feels a responsibility to not allow daily press briefings become a forum for propaganda.”,”descriptionText”:”White House press secretary Jen Psaki tells CNN’s Brian Stelter she feels a responsibility to not allow daily press briefings become a forum for propaganda.”},{“title”:”Brooks served with Swalwell lawsuit. He claims act was trespassing”,”duration”:”02:36″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/06/06/mo-brooks-eric-swalwell-lawsuit-capitol-insurrection-polantz-nr-sot-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/06/06/mo-brooks-eric-swalwell-lawsuit-capitol-insurrection-polantz-nr-sot-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210606200832-brooks-swalwell-split-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/06/06/mo-brooks-eric-swalwell-lawsuit-capitol-insurrection-polantz-nr-sot-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) wasu003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/2021/06/06/politics/mo-brooks-eric-swalwell-lawsuit-capitol-insurrection/index.html” target=”_blank”> served with a lawsuitu003c/a> filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) seeking to hold him partially accountable for the January 6 insurrection, according to a tweet from Brooks and an attorney for Swalwell. 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{CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘restoreFreewheel’);}navigateToNextVideo(contentId, containerId);},onContentEnd: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(false);}}},onCVPVisibilityChange: function (containerId, cvpId, visible) {CNN.VideoPlayer.handleAdOnCVPVisibilityChange(containerId, visible);}};if (typeof configObj.context !== ‘string’ || configObj.context.length 0) {configObj.adsection = window.ssid;}CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibrary(configObj, callbackObj, isLivePlayer);});CNN.INJECTOR.scriptComplete(‘videodemanddust’);JUST WATCHEDObama reflects on ‘Becoming a Man’ programReplayMore Videos …MUST WATCH{“@context”: “https://schema.org”,”@type”: “VideoObject”,”name”: “Obama reflects on ‘Becoming a Man’ program”,”description”: “Former President Barack Obama says his struggles early in life were “similar” to those of the young men he mentors in Chicago while reflecting on his path to the presidency in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.”,”thumbnailURL”: “https://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210607152242-01-obama-ac360-intvw-0607-large-169.jpg”,”image”: “https://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210607152242-01-obama-ac360-intvw-0607-large-169.jpg”,”duration”: “PT18M9S”,”uploadDate”: “2021-06-08T00:10:42Z”,”contentUrl”: “https://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/06/07/barack-obama-anderson-cooper-ac360-special-becoming-a-man-sot-vpx.cnn”,”url”: “https://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/06/07/barack-obama-anderson-cooper-ac360-special-becoming-a-man-sot-vpx.cnn”,”embedUrl”: “https://fave.api.cnn.io/v1/fav/?video=politics/2021/06/07/barack-obama-anderson-cooper-ac360-special-becoming-a-man-sot-vpx.cnn&customer=cnn&edition=international&env=prod”}Obama reflects on ‘Becoming a Man’ program 18:08Obama’s interview with CNN largely centered on his participation in a so-called BAM — or Becoming a Man — circle.The program, aimed at mentoring and supporting boys and young men, started in Chicago in 2001, but Obama first joined one of the circles in 2013 and has continued to be a part of the program ever since. The program was a key reference when Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper in 2014, as he worked to reverse trends showing young men of color are more likely to drop out of school, get in trouble with the law or be unemployed.During the interview, Obama also reflected on his somewhat unlikely path to the presidency, arguing that his struggles early in life were “similar” to those of the young men he mentors in Chicago.Obama wrote in his memoir that he was an “incessant, dedicated partyer” while he was growing up and that he and his friends “didn’t discuss much beyond sports, girls, music and plans for getting loaded” while they were going to school. Obama has been up front about not being focused on his future at a young age, telling students at an event in 2014 that he often “made bad choices” growing up.”I have to be careful not to overstate. I was not, you know, going around, beating up kids and setting things on fire,” he told Cooper in the CNN interview. “But I understood what it meant to not have a father in the house. I understood what it meant to be in an environment in which you were an outsider.”He added, “The violence and drugs and some of the issues that the guys were dealing with day to day were different. But the mistakes I made, the struggles I was going through, were similar.”Through the program, which is said to work with 8,000 youth in 140 schools each year, the former President meets for group conversations with young men in Chicago. During that time, Obama tries to convey that even though he went on to become the President of the United States, he struggled with many of the things these young men deal with on a daily basis.”The first time I sat down with these guys, the most important thing for me to communicate at that time, and I was President of the United States, was in many ways, (you) are ahead of me, of where I was at your age,” Obama said. “I just had certain advantages you guys don’t. I could make a mistake and land on my feet.”The advice is both broad and practical. During the meeting, one participant noted how he had never learned how to tie a tie or the difference between forks at a dinner.”I didn’t learn that ’til I got the White House,” Obama joked in response.Obama wrote in his memoir that it wasn’t until college — first at Occidental College in California and later at Columbia University in New York — that he began to develop an academic curiosity. He noted that for three years while living in New York, he “lived like a monk — reading, writing, filling up journals, rarely bothering with college parties or even eating hot meals.”In the memoir, he wrote that he got lost in his own head about success and failure, something that has become a central question in his work with students in Becoming a Man.”These kids are just as talented. They’re just as smart. They could achieve just as much,” Obama said in the interview with Cooper. “The single most important thing I learned… the line between success or failure in this society so often is dictated not by anybody’s inherent merits.”He added, “It has to do with the circumstances in which they’re in. That doesn’t mean they don’t have individual responsibility. … But it also means that we as a society continue to fail them.”This story has been updated with additional details from the interview.

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