Obama was speaking at a conference Tuesday for his My Brother’s Keeper initiative in Oakland, California, when he spoke about the importance of being a good person. “All of us have to recognize that being a man is first and foremost being a good human,” he said. “That means being responsible, working hard, being kind, respectful, compassionate.”
He added: “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.”
“Michelle’s husband,” as he referred to himself at the start of the event, was joined by NBA superstar Steph Curry. He said that there needs to be space “where young men of color, and young men generally, don’t feel as if to be respected they have to act a certain way,” according to HuffPost.
“If you’re confident about your strength, you don’t need to show me by putting somebody else down,” said Obama. “Show me by lifting somebody else up.”
Curry and Obama were joined by about two dozen young men of color, according to HuffPost. Obama also spoke about the role racism plays in perpetuating toxic masculinity.
“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.”