Opposition to Cancel Culture isn’t a Sign of Moral Superiority
Oct 27, 2021
Opposition to cancel culture isn’t a sign of moral superiority and I think we need to be careful not to treat it like one.
Cancel culture dynamics are obviously extremely abusive and toxic and in my process of differentiating myself from it I’ve found a lot of comfort in exploring these ideas as a new developing ethic in deepening my commitment to supporting cultures of healthy relating and ending abuse.
But I’m also positioned as a person who was deeply invested in cancel culture for a long time. I get the logics and the appeal. I understand why people engage in it, and I understand it as multifaceted.
It was about trauma and fear. It was about safety seeking. It was about outrage. It was about a desire to belong. It was about a desire to be good.
But part of what drew me out of cancel culture is what I need to check myself on in this moment: understanding that cruelty, mob mentality, needing to feel righteous, needing a sense of belonging, these aren’t things only “those” people do.
These are traits of humanity and culture.
Opposing cancel culture does not make us superior because as humans we are not immune to the impulses, needs, desires, and forces that gave rise to cancel culture in the first place.
Differentiation is what I have tried to cultivate to free myself from cancel culture. Practicing the ability to disagree with others and hold onto my sense of self. Trying to cultivate relationships where disagreement is normalized, even if it’s still not easy.
Differentiation is a practice. It’s something you build like a muscle. It is not a quality that if you work hard enough you get to claim as a permanent trait.
We will always, as humans in relationship with other humans, be traversing that space between togetherness and individuality. For me, opposition to cancel culture is about a deeper ethic, and it is about embracing radical realness about the most offensive aspects of human behavior.
We are humans. We do awful things. Cancel culture is just one manifestation of that. We will be taking joy in our points of unity, and we will be struggling sometimes in fear and anger at the points where we diverge.
And I want to be real that just because I’ve made an intention not to participate anymore, it doesn’t make me a more evolved human. It’s just one leg of a lifelong journey to align with my values and be the person I want to be.