"It means that you’re not able to see somebody else as a human being." - President Obama
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President Obama addressed of a gathering of Young African Leaders at a Presidential Summit this week, just days after returning from his trip to Kenya and Ethiopia.
During his remarks at the Summit, the president took questions from the audience, and one young woman from Kenya asked him to press the issue of the killing of albino people with African leaders. (The body parts of people with albinism are used in religious rituals.)
"The notion that any African would discriminate against somebody because of the color of their skin, after what black people around the world have gone through, is crazy," the president answered. "It is infuriating and I have no patience for it."
Then the president then used that question to note the similarities of between the targeting of albino people and the targeting of gay people.
"The same, by the way, is true for sexual orientation,” Obama observed. "I spoke about this in Africa, and everybody is like, oh, oh, we don’t want to hear that. But the truth of the matter is, is that if you’re treating people differently just because of who they love and who they are, then there’s a connection between that mindset and the mindset that led to racism, and the mindset that leads to ethnic conflict. It means that you’re not able to see somebody else as a human being."
Pink News reports that President Obama then compared the treatment of Africans by imperialistic Europeans to the way LGBT people are now treated in many African countries.
“You can’t, on the one hand, complain when somebody else does that to you, and then you’re doing it to somebody else," the president pointed out. "You can’t do it. There’s got to be some consistency to how you think about these issues. And that’s going to be up to young people — because old people get stuck in their ways."
President Obama then challenged the Young African Leaders attendees to go out and change the world, telling them:
"You will not only be making a difference in your own countries, but will also be the foundation of a new generation of global leadership."
That day can't come too soon.
Feature photo via Twitter