Cancel culture and critical race theory—two increasingly popular concepts that intend to rid society of bigotry. But what sort of impact have they had on culture? Will they accomplish the explicit goals set by their proponents? What does the proliferation of these ideas imply for future generations?
Cancel culture involves the act of boycotting people for what they do or say on social media, causing their expulsion from their role in society. Victims may receive threats, have personal information exposed, or have their careers ruined.
Under cancel culture, claims made against the accused need no merit. Real or fabricated, internet cancelers are quick to believe statements made by strangers. In what sort of civil society are people guilty until proven innocent? False claims are ruining lives; the responsible party never seems to care.
This form of ostracism has been growing along with the resurgence of political correctness (PC), the extreme avoidance of actions or language that may be offensive. People in support of the ideology assert that it’s a sign that society is outgrowing hate speech. But how do we determine what qualifies as hate speech? To be clear, using hatred in an attempt to degrade any person is awful and inhumane. Bigotry is seeming more subjective than ever, though, as there are ever-changing requirements for a person to be tolerant by PC standards.
Since America has no legal definition of hate speech, how does the mob know who to cancel? Short answer: they don’t. Their collective has no consistency in the societal rules that they impose. What they may have deemed as tolerant a few years ago might be something they no longer consider to be okay. Even Tweets made over a decade ago can lead to the detriment of a person.
It’s not hard to see that this is a tactic used to bully dissenters into submission. Imposing ultimatums to silence ideas is a tactic used by authoritarian systems. And with their list of demands increasing, it will only push further until they have no one left to place in exile.
Critical Race Theory
Critical race theory (CRT) focuses its efforts within academia and the workforce. It promotes an anti-racist worldview by encouraging people to base their self-worth on the color of their skin. Disciplinarians of the ideology view almost everything through the lens of race, even when an issue is class-based or unrelated to injustice.
CRT does not seek to put an end to racism by discouraging discrimination or promoting a shared culture. Instead, it supports prejudice and anarchism. It believes that race is property. That the law is inherently racist and that anecdotal evidence should trump empirical data. Critical race theory is reviving a form of hatred that was on its deathbed in this country.
Using discrimination to fight discrimination is not the answer. Doing so will only turn bigotry into a pendulum. It will persecute one group and then swing back to oppress the other once again. The fight should be for equality, not revenge.
Impact on Society and Potential Ramifications
Promoting the belief that every issue deals with race will cause politics to focus on identity rather than actual policies. People will favor those most like themselves. Racism will become more prominent than at any other time in recent history.
Canceling is already hurting the representation of minorities in media and commerce. The mob is okay with removing them from culture, even cheering when it happens. It would be understandable if they wanted to change a product with a legitimately racist portrayal of a group of people, but that’s rarely the case.
How will any of this help put an end to racism or bigotry? It only seems to be fanning the flames of hatred. People are now vilifying their neighbors, not accepting them. Violence based on political ideology has been rising in the past few years. Reality is mirroring dystopian fiction more than ever.
These movements are harmful to the marketplace of ideas in America. There is forcible suppression of the opposition and strong regimentation of society. The mob makes people feel the need to watch their every move. It’s terrorism; they’re silencing and oppressing people through threats of violence.
When facing unjust cancelation, refuse to back down or bend the knee. Apologizing only sends the message that the threats worked. The way to defeat the extremists is through free and open expression.
The solution to critical race theory is to stand for equality. Anti-racism is racism as well—it spreads prejudice that does not belong in schools or at work. Teach the next generation to accept others based on their character, not by their color or creed.