Andrew Yang Forgives Shane Gillis, Sets Example to End Cancel Culture
Today, I want to talk about Cancel Culture, and how we can ‘cancel’ it, using the recent drama surrounding comedian Shane Gillis, and 2020 candidate Andrew Yang as an example. Cancel culture is getting so big these days that it is engulfing commentators left and right, and even a socially progressive Canadian Prime Minister! Comedian Shane Gillis was fired just a few days after the announcement of him joining SNL, because people discovered some of his old material in which he used racist slurs. Some of the stuff he said was indeed very distasteful. One of these slurs was directed at Andrew Yang. In response, Yang said that he thought Gillis deserved another chance to keep his job. Yang said that society has become too punitive towards people who made distateful statements, and he thought that, by setting an example of advocating for forgiveness, it would be something positive.
As you may expect, I totally agree with Yang here. Of course, the decision by one person to forgive won’t change much overnight, but if more prominent people decided to do the same, it would have the effect of gradually changing our culture, moving away from a Cancel Culture to a Forgiving Culture. The fact that Yang himself received backlash for his forgiving stance was particularly frustrating. Modern cancel culture is not just some people attempting to cancel individuals they find problematic; it is also a group mentality thing, where everyone is expected to agree to act together to achieve the cancellation. As Yang’s example showed, there is plenty of peer pressure to participate in cancel culture or at least not oppose it. It is group-think power in action. This is why cancel culture is inherently anti-individual.
The other thing we should know about cancel culture, is that it is one tactic among many that are used to deliberately create polarization in society. I have already said plenty about why some people are deliberately polarizing society and how they are doing it, so I’m not going to go into the details here. What’s important is that, those who believe in bringing people together, and ending the divisive culture wars, have plenty of reason to oppose cancel culture, and to bring about its opposite, which is of course a forgiving culture. Therefore, I think it is actually very fitting that Andrew Yang, a candidate who is all about building the big tent across political divides, is doing his part to bring about a forgiving culture. After all, there can be no bridging divides without forgiveness. I think we can all learn from Yang here. Next time a public figure says something controversial or distateful, try to see if you can advocate forgiveness instead of cancellation. Also, on a more personal level, next time someone in your life says something offensive, try and see if you can use a bit of forgiveness. It could go a long way.
Originally published at taraellastylia.blogspot.com on September 20, 2019.
TaraElla is a singer-songwriter, independent journalist and author, who is passionate about free speech, liberty and equality. She is the author of the Moral Libertarian Horizon books, which focus on developing a moral case for freedom-based politics in the 21st century.