In Nairobe Kenya, President Obama says that “just because something is a part of your past doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t mean that it defines your future.”
As an example Obama pointed to the controversy over flying the confederate flag in the United States.
“It was a flag that flew over an army that fought to maintain a system of slavery and racial subjugation. So we should understand our history, but we should also recognize it sends a bad message to those who were liberated from slavery and oppression.”
“Just because something’s a tradition doesn’t make it right.”
He used that example to talk about the struggle in Kenya and elsewhere to give women equal rights and opportunities.
“Treating women and girls as second class citizens- those are bad traditions. They need to change,” Obama said drawing a huge cheer from the crowed gathered at Safaricom Indoor Arena.
“There’s no excuse for sexual assault or domestic violence. There’s no reason young girls should suffer genital mutilation. There’s no place in civilized society for the early or forced marriage of children. These traditions may date back centuries. They have no place in the 21st century.”
“These are issues of right and wrong in any culture. But they’re also issues of success and failure. Any nation that fails to educate its girls or employ its women and allowing them to maximize their potential is doomed to fall behind in the global economy.
“We’re in a sports center. Imagine if you have a team and you don’t let half of the team play. That’s stupid. That makes no sense.”