2020 has been a revealing year, on many levels for many people, be in reassessing the things that add value in our lives, to the relationships we decided to end or just trying to live the lives we have always wanted- the pandemic ripped open things/people who have been “patching” for many years. The flood gates opened, but one thing the internet and I suppose having nothing but time has done, is the level of viscery and “public justice” that came for many ignorant (some calculated), obnoxious and quite frankly privileged people. But, this blog post isn’t about their actions; I want to explore…once we’ve cancelled them, where do they go? Discuss with me.
It isn’t a competition, it’s a process. cancelling someone won’t help them grow.Model/Activist- Monroe Bergdorf
I’m lucky or unlucky enough that I lived my youth before Facebook was curating and broadcasting my life and bad life decisions. I was able to make lots of bold bad choices, all without the worry of it coming back to haunt me, 1) because it didn’t exist 2) once it did I never mentioned it, Oh the luxury, but what got me thinking recently, was on the backs of the public “cancellation” of Jessica Mulroney, Marie-Pier Morin and I guess you can lump Don Cherry in from a Canadian perspective. I wonder though, what happens to these people when we’ve cancelled them? Where do they go? After hanging off of their every word, we now simply ignore them like social pariahs because of a misjudgement? Now, don’t get me wrong, I fully accept that some people do not deserve the spotlight or any opportunity to spew their hate and nonsense, especially if it’s demeaning, insulting or downright disrespectful to another group of people.
But, we often speak of compassion and kindness- I just wonder why we never seem to offer this to people who take a misstep. Again, there is a major difference between pattern of behaviours and having a broken filter, there are people who make it their life’s mission to be insulting and demeaning- these aren’t the people I am referring to or ones who hold up and support systems of oppression. Jessica Mulroney played her hand, she showed her White privilege and her elitism in one swift move, is she a racist? An abuser? Most likely not, she got keyboard brave and extremely angry and went ham. But where does that leave her? In cancelling her, what space is left for her to do the work? To realize the error of her ways/judgement, privilege and LEARN.
WHERE DO THEY GROW?
After we have cancelled them, we act as if they never existed- like we weren’t just fanning the flames of their aura a couple minutes prior, where does their ahh moment come from? Who will take the time? It always makes me weary calling somebody racist or anything verging on ignorant, because the majority of them will not choose to educate themselves, they merely choose to keep quiet, particularly around the person who just called them out. Nothing changed except where they choose to show that behaviour- in fact they may even seek out more “seedy” or “underground” ways to continue their behaviours. But, dialogue, conversation, listening- can get you so so much further, meeting others with compassion. Saying things such as, “I don’t agree with you on this point, but thank you for feeling comfortable enough with me to share it.” Attacking only causes more anger, anger is a defence mechanism and that leads to shutting down and disengaging; which is the very opposite of what you want to achieve, Which brings me to another point, a lot of ignorant, racist people aren’t exactly sorry for their actions- they’re sorry they got caught. Some may even bank on the general public’s ability to essentially have fickle memories and in a couple years, they will re-introduce themselves or a products and like moths to a flame we will be drawn in. Hence, why cancelling them serves no purpose. As I write this, Jessica Mulroney has begin posting on her social media again, she is probably hoping we have all forgotten about her actions, but I feel like real growth comes from ownership, yes she apologized at the time, but she kinda needed to. I don’t want to hear about how she has begun working again, what I want to hear is how has she changed? What has this major event done to change the way she sees things, the way she speaks to people? The way she has checked her privilege. Those are the answer I personally need in order to begin to take her seriously again. And the fact is, I don’t think it will ever come- then what did she really learn? And what did cancelling her achieve other than putting. a slight dent in her massive income? Of course, there isn’t a course she/they can take on being more open and understanding privilege when they see it within themselves, but I feel like we as a society, need to find ways to hold people/influencers much more accountable but also seek out ones who are always willing to learn, admit when they are wrong and take steps to display said changed behaviours. Otherwise they aren’t truly sorry, just sorry they got caught in the behaviour.
Adding to this, I feel like cancel culture is somewhat hypocritical, we love nothing more than to hop on to the bandwagon of let’s take another human being down, acting as if we our selves are infallible. We sit in our perfectly constructed glass houses and look down at others as if we don’t have things about ourselves we wouldn’t want becoming public knowledge. We all make mistakes, we all have moments, where we think why did we say that? Yes, being caught out for being a racist isn’t on the same level, but sitting on our high horses attempting to oust someone when we have skeletons isn’t leading from compassion or even kindness. We are simply taking pleasure in another person’s demise and that doesn’t sit well with me. Get rid of Cancel Culture and bring in Compassion Culture, it will set us all in good stead if we lead from a place of compassion, because when we learn, we heal and when we heal we truly break the cycle.