XXXTentacion, picture credit: State of Florida (public domain)

Cancel Culture Needs to be Cancelled

XXXTentacion, picture credit: State of Florida (public domain)

When they came for all straight, white, middle-class men (too many names to mention but Jeffree Star, Jake Paul, etc) – I said patriarchy, imperialism, racism, classism and oppression justifies resistance and the cancellation of the elite for their unethical behaviour.

When they came for the Soundcloud (XXXTentacion, Kodak Black, 6ix9ine) rappers, I said that lot are all bloody weird, so whilst I will not slander some of their admittedly great music, sexual abuse, colourism, domestic violence are all absolutely reprehensible so let the cancellation bell ring.

When they came for basically every popular urban UK artist (Stormzy, Stefflon Don, Skepta, Giggs, Chip.etc) for crimes ranging from homophobia, colourism, sexism, thinking racism is over – I thought social media do your ting, if we don’t critique our own communities then we are hypocrites but it’s starting to get a bit much.

Then the other day, Brother Nature – the Mexican 19 year old who came to fame chronicling his funny adventures with deer, squirrels, goats and all kinds of lovable animals – was cancelled for problematic tweets from 2012.

This is where I draw a line. This is not because of any particular loyalty to this deer whisperer fellow (Canela is far cuter) but because cancellation culture has long overstayed its welcome in any reasonable progressive movement.

Cancel culture is the process of withholding support morally, financially and/or digitally for people who stray into the category of “problematic”. If your old dodgy tweets are unearthed, like in the case of celebrity Maya Jama and singer Doja Cat, then you will face punishment in the form of being #cancelled. The resulting uproar around your ugly views serve to reprimand and deter those who defy our acceptable social norms and cause offense, if not harm, to society’s most vulnerable constituencies.

Women have continually been a punching bag in our patriarchal society, suffering from violent misogyny, institutionalized sexism and rampant harassment which has ignited backlash in the form of the #MeToo movement. Colourism, of which all genders have been targeted, but for women of colour in particular, has ridden the coattails of patriarchy to introduce a pernicious dimension wherein darker skin tones are made “ugly” whereas fairer or ‘whiter’ skin is envisioned as beautiful.

These illustrate just two of the popular oppressions that many find themselves victims or perpetrators of. White supremacy has been a virulent genocidal disease throughout history that has caused untold misery, murder, conquest, rapes, pillaging and destruction. Alongside homophobia, the often-dismissed classism and other violent ideologies, it is no wonder that so many marginalized groups have risen up in protest and resistance to those who would continue to uphold such views in 2018.

Cancellation culture and its mother, political correctness, arise from the recent power of the oppressed to dictate the acceptable discourse and behaviours of those who have historically held power. But in its frantic effort to rid society of undesirable views and unwillingness to compromise, cancellation culture has become unforgiving, uncomfortable and uncontrollable.

When Brother Nature (Kelvin Peña) is being cancelled for stupid tweets made at the age of 13 he since apologized for, (admittedly some are horrific, praising the KKK, Hitler, Nazis and advocating violence against women) are we saying that growth is impossible? Are we saying to all the people who weren’t lucky enough to be born woke, with a clinical understanding of white supremacy, patriarchy, homophobia, the dynamics of all structural oppressions and the maturity/self-control to uphold these views at all times, to get lost? That no ignorance whatsoever is welcome in the new world of social justice?

That ain’t it. People make mistakes, learn, grow and do become better. We have to give second chances, we have to consider context and we have to allow ignorance to wither away with time. Of course, the violence and harm caused by aggressive ideologies should not be tolerated, but neither still should permanent social ostracism for some of the diverging views that different people of different backgrounds at different stages of their life hold. I know you have said stupid things either out loud or maybe you were dumb enough to put them online. I know I have. Everyone has. If you personally are pure of heart and deed, can you say the same for all your friends and relatives? Even the most well-intentioned person has to learn to do better and be better. Wokeness does not arrive overnight, and certainly not for all people at the same time.

Let’s cancel cancelling people. Accountability is not the same as intolerance.

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