Broadening Horizons — Part 2

This past Monday was the second session of the CSEF Diversity Learning Workshop. If you missed my last post about it and would rather start from the beginning, here you go! Otherwise, let’s dive right in.

This month, the group discussed Cancel Culture. For those who don’t know, Cancel Culture refers to the reaction when a celebrity or business owner behaves offensively. “Canceling” is when the general public demands that said famous person lose their platform because of their behavior. For example, “Don’t buy from So-and-So Inc. anymore! The CEO made a racist statement in their interview with XYZ Magazine. We shouldn’t give people like that our money!” On paper, this holds the people who were canceled accountable and forces them to apologize. In practice, as I’m sure anyone who has spent five minutes on Twitter knows, it’s more complicated than that.

"Cancel culture" written by a gray typewriter
A typewriter having written, “Cancel Culture.” Photo Credit: Markus Winkler via Unsplash

During the workshop, we broke into groups to discuss whether we were “pro” or “against” Cancel Culture. Then we regrouped, and everyone changed their name on Zoom to reflect their beliefs. Upon being asked, a few people argued that Cancel Culture holds the more privileged accountable. Others said that it takes away the opportunity to learn from one’s mistakes.

The vast majority of people said, “It depends.” Including me.

That was interesting to me. I noticed that it was easy for me to promise that I would look for a broader context first. I wondered, “How many times have I done that in real life?” Aside from Cancel Culture, what about in general? Do I have a hypocritical streak that I don’t know about?

Needless to say, Monday was not comfortable. But, as I said last time, that’s the point. If I don’t leave these Diversity Learning workshops without taking a hard look in the mirror afterward, then I’m squandering the opportunity. Why would I spend my time going to something if I’m not going to do what it’s teaching me how to do?

Anyway, I’m not going to ask you, dear readers, to post your thoughts on Cancel Culture in the comments. I’m posting this the week of the 2020 election, so I’m sure we’ve all had enough of debating on the Internet. However, if you’re interested, or you’ve been asking a lot of questions about yourself lately, contact CSEF about getting into a future Diversity Learning workshop. Maybe you’ll learn something about yourself, too!

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