My Thoughts on Cancel Culture
Originally posted as a caption on my IG @melzdot
I’ve been itching to speak on this but fear of getting cancelled stopped me. I’ve never been a fan of cancel culture, since it’s inception it never resonated with me. Maybe because I recognise everyone is divine and holds both dark and light — but is ultimately divine. Maybe it’s because I believe all humans are intrinsically good and don’t need shame for wrongdoings, they need healing instead. Maybe it’s because my earliest memories were in a volatile and violent DV environment and if I can forgive my late father, and see his humanity, I can see anyone’s.
But this cancel culture shit has to stop. It is the most ironic framework — it is literally abusive. It relies on the mining of other peoples trauma to evoke trauma responses in them to project and experience their own trauma onto whoever the call out is directed it. That person them becomes not just responsible for said claims but also responsible for every other trauma anyone related who is seeing this claim has also had.
We also really need to get serious about acknowledging the ways victimhood is being weaponised. People are using these tactics to further the covert abuse they have been inflicting on people. In social justice spaces it is the surest way to ensure that person you hate has no recourse to care, to community, to understanding, to being held. It is a strategy of alienation to continue to control that person when control may be waning or lost. The word “abuse” is so triggering that ppl using it as a form of manipulation know the power of it and the outcomes.
To suggest anyone that questions such claims is an apologist is wild. People actively taking part in campaigns that are abusive but to voice said campaign is abusive is to be an apologist. The matrix is glitching.
I will never not be stunned at how quickly ppl in SJ movements or adjacent spaces like the queer community in general abandon members of ‘community’ as soon as a claim has come up against their name. How can we claim to be a ‘community’ of any kind if we are just silently discarding of folks out of fear and to try and preserve our own place in the ‘community’.
I say this with the belief that, I do not believe people who are abusive or engage in abusive tactics are bad people. Both in terms of the person/ ppl that is designing the abusive cancellation campaign and the person who is allegedly abusive.
I believe all parties deserve and NEED community, love, care, and understanding. There’s so much gossip and hearsay in these spaces. People quietly unfollowing or side-eyeing folk coz they heard something thru the grapevine and now that thing that they heard is said person’s entire identity and they are therefore a bad person???
Nuance my people, nuance. I won’t lie, I’ve been wrapped up in it in the past too, but the only reason I unfollow someone isn’t because I believe that’s who they are but it is literally out of fear that I will be the next target. It’s brazy!
I’m also recognising that so much of what is labelled abuse in these spaces is literally just conflict or misunderstandings that can be resolved once people are in more emotionally regulated spaces. But it’s also important to remember that in these spaces ppl are hella traumatised and more than the situation itself can be feeding into these callouts.
Also, we need to acknowledge the people that suffer the most from these call-outs are also the people that suffer the most at the hands of the criminal justice system — we are literally just creating the system within a system.
People are complex. We all have light and dark. I believe that no matter what, every human deserves community and to be understood in a nuanced way. Even if that happens far away from me, they regardless still deserve it! They deserve to heal from whatever caused them to bleed out onto me. They deserve love. How can ppl claim to be abolitionists and not believe this fundamental grace that every living being deserves.
Even more controversially I don’t necessarily believe in “community accountability” sometimes it’s just an SJ way of saying imma take this person to court and shame them whilst calling it healing because that’s what feels good to me because I am in pain. I get it. I’ve wanted to do it.
But in reality even if I think it is in service of my healing in the moment, is it really? If those that love me allow me to do such things in the midst of my pain are they really serving me? Just letting my wound bleed out on everyone around me and once I have completed my character annihilation, how do I feel? Still empty and in pain when there may have actually been a more healing way to engage.
I personally believe the only true accountability lies with divine. Whilst that is uncomfortable because we have no power over things — we also cannot see peoples hearts. Yes there are things that should be done in the material world such as healing conversations and apologies where necessary. It is helpful when people can understand and acknowledge harms caused on one side, or both, in order to support their healing journeys. But at the same time words are words, the heart is the heart. Even those that have wronged and been abusive towards me, I don’t believe I personally have the power to change them, nor do I believe I should be their arbiter. I’m also not tryina hurt them because I don’t believe anyone learns from shame. I can say my part, set my boundaries and keep it moving (provided I’m safe). I trust that the universe and divine will teach them the lessons they need to learn in this lifetime from whatever direction they need to learn it because I am not a fed, nor a judge, nor god. Nor do I want to be.