I read a very good piece by Cathy Young in the NY Daily News about the obsession of people, especially online to cancel those they may disagree with. It’s become known as Cancel Culture. If for some reason a person disagrees or acts in a way that some part of society disagrees with, then they. must be de-platformed – not allowed a voice in civil society. It’s shameful that we’ve come to this point where we may not agree with another person and call for them to not only be silenced, but ostracized within society.
Of course, we’ve come to a point in history where it appears, by everything currently evidenced, that free speech – no more than that – open discussion, on any topic, may be anathema to some group, some minority, and therefore not allowed to even be whispered. We’re now, all of us, judged on what we may or may not think. It has never occurred to me, until the last few years, to think carefully what I may say (think) because there’s going to be someone, somewhere, that may take offense. Sorry all, I thought the entire idea of “free speech” was to be able to say something that may be offensive to some with the ultimate outcome of whatever that speech was, would encourage a discussion, even debate, over those words – not that some would attempt to silence me.
Cathy used the current situation of Sarah Braasch, whom, if you read here regularly, I’ve written a lot about. Is Sarah a perfect person? Are any of us? No. But to have your life completely disrupted – no destroyed – by an encounter in a dormitory on a university campus? It’s unimaginable for most of us but then, everything today is racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, or, well, I lose count of all the accusations that are regularly made by those that probably are worse than those they accuse. And yet, person after person, are cancelled, de-platformed entirely in social media, simply because of a few words that are found to be objectionable.
A friend sent me this piece, which I found actually very profound on the idea of cancel culture, but more so because of a single quote by no other than Dave Chapelle (the article is about him).
“I don’t get mad at them, don’t hate on them,” he said, while discussing comedians he knows to be racist. “Man, it’s not that serious. The First Amendment is first for a reason. The Second Amendment is just in case the first one doesn’t work out.”
Bolding is mine and isn’t that the truth? Should every incident that some may believe is somehow bigoted become national, even international news? Of course not. The incident at Yale with Sarah Braasch and another student should never have made the student newspaper, much less the New York Times. But now, it seems the smallest thing, caught on video, because everyone now is a “journalist”, may now become news for the world to judge.
Taking a dispute, whether in person or online and have a few people, with a specific agenda, convince others that someone’s opinion should be silenced? Even without a direct or even indirect dispute may cause personal and professional harm to a person. Sarah Braasch is an extreme example, but so is Dr. Noah Carl. Less than 600 signatures on a petition, many of whom were probably unfamiliar with his work, cost him a position. This is the way the culture works. In the last few months a couple of online friends had a similar experience – mobbed because they’d dare speak on a topic they weren’t allowed to – one of whom had his current position threatened by the mob. Of course, after a few days, the mob moved on, as it usually does, to hunt down a new victim. No lasting harm appeared to have been done, but it made both aware of how easily anyone may become a victim of Cancel Culture for simply having their own opinion. Of course, I’ve written about this recently but thought it deserved more treatment. We need more voices to stand up against these anti-culture mobs where ever they exist.
3 thoughts on “We Need to Cancel Cancel Culture”
If I remember correctly, there have been some surveys conducted in the last few years showing a drop in support for free speech in younger age groups. I’m sure most people value their own free speech, but some clearly are not willing to extend that to the speech of others. This phenomenon has been building for some time, and it is probably too complex to have only one cause. Still, I can’t help thinking that it is closely related to our political tribalism and tendency to view those with whom we disagree as enemies rather than ideological opponents who are still deserving of respect.
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