President Barack Obama attended a town hall meeting at the Royal Horticulture Halls in central London on Saturday. While there, he answered questions about LGBTQ rights and civil rights. He explained his views on the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S.
“I think that what Black Lives Matter is doing now to bring attention to the problem of a criminal justice system that sometimes is not treating people fairly based on race, or reacting to shootings of individuals by police officers has been really effective in bringing attention to problems,” Obama said, according to AOL.
He also offered some words of caution regarding how BLM protesters often operate when confronting politicians.
“One of the things I caution young people about though, that I don’t think is effective, is you’ve highlighted an issue and brought it to people’s attention … and elected officials are ready to sit down with you, then you can’t just keep yelling at them. And you can’t refuse to meet because that would compromise the purity of your position.
“The value of social movements and activism is to get you at the table, get you in the room and then start trying to figure out how is this problem going to be solved,” he continued.
Obama added that although racial progress is made in certain aspects of society, the issues that persist should not be ignored.
“One of the dangers is that by electing a Black president, people say there must be no problem at all,” Obama added.
During the meeting, the president was confronted with a question from someone who labeled themselves as “non-binary,” which is identifying as being neither a female nor a male. The questioner asked Obama to be firm in his stance on gender identity issues. The president replied that he cannot do much about the laws that have been passed in places like North Carolina which force transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond with the gender they were at birth.