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Cancel Culture: Accountability, The Backlash, And Reflection

Cancel Culture: Accountability, The Backlash, And Reflection

Morning Joe said something stupid, our Facebook page is at risk, and accountability is a must.

For the last several years, with the resurgence of white supremacy and right-wing extremists in this country, groups like the Proud Boys, Boogaloo Boys, and all types of militia have been organizing and planning violence in Facebook groups. In 2020, after a white militia planned the kidnapping and execution of Michigan Governor Whitmer and a white militia planned on the violence in Kenosha in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting, Facebook vowed to crack down on these groups. Many were deleted completely from the platform; still, some slipped through the cracks. In January, after encouraging an insurrection, Twitter finally banned Trump and 70,000 other QAnon accounts. Then the cries of “cancel culture” and “big tech censorship” came from the right.

Politicians like Ted Cruz, Dan Crenshaw, and Chip Roy took to social media to warn everyone that Conservatives were being censored by big tech. Many on the right are on a mission to overturn Rule 230, also known as the Communication Decency Act.

Right now, private social media platforms completely have the right to moderate their platforms however they choose so that they can ban hate speech, violence, and sexually explicit material from their website. However, hate speech is protected under the First Amendment.

Conservatives want to block private social media platforms from moderating their own platforms.

Rule 230 says that websites and social media companies cannot be held liable for removing offensive content from their platform. If that was overturned, then Websites can sue websites like Facebook and Twitter for violation of the First Amendment for removing said content.

The First Amendment is specific to the government interfering with free speech, not private companies. Republicans know this. Their problem is with capitalisms, but they can’t admit that out loud.

They are hoping that if Rule 230 is overturned, then Conservatives would continue to use social media to spread racist ideas and coordinate violent attacks.

“Both sides” and the backlash of removing hate from social media.

Sometime last year, Facebook updated their “hate speech” algorithms to prioritize anti-Black and anti-LGBTQ hate speech over anti-white. Sure, it’s about time; hate speech has been allowed on Facebook now for too long. Unfortunately, we all know that racism is often still not deleted when reported.

The right clings onto “whataboutism,” as if their racism is equal to the left calling them out on it. This has trickled into the Facebook algorithm or right-leaning programmers have intentionally programmed the algorithm to also target potential oppression of white people.

A few months ago, I got a 24-hour ban on Facebook for saying “white trash.” It was labeled as hate speech and against the terms of service. Now, I don’t remember if I called a person white trash or said something was white trash, but I meant it if I said it. I’m white. Because I call someone white trash doesn’t mean I hate white people, it just means they are trashy. Of course, there is no way to dispute it.

The Living Blue in Texas Facebook page is at risk.

This makes me sick to my stomach. The Living Blue in Texas Facebook page got another violation, and because of the previous violations we’ve had, Facebook is now threatening to delete the page.

Here was the post which violated community standards.

I didn’t post it, it was another admin, and she got put in Facebook jail for 30 days because of it. They labeled it as “hate speech,” but it’s nothing hateful.

Posted on September 26, 2020, a screenshot from Twitter says, “Imagine being in Germany in the 30s like ‘I don’t hate Jews, not one bit! Nothing against them. How dare you imply that, I’M A NICE PERSON!! But that Hitler is doing great things for this economy; you can’t deny that, so he’s getting my vote’.”

A perfect analogy of what Trumpers was saying last year before the election. How is this considered hate speech? Your guess is as good as mine.

I’ve made a new Facebook page, Living Blue TX, which will be the official page of the Living Blue in Texas blog and will also serve as a backup page to the original page if it does wind up getting deleted. Which would REALLLLLLYYYY suck, considering our page is now 8 years old with over 71,000 followers. (Expect a follow-up article going more in-depth about this situation soon).

Cancel culture should be called accountability.

The right loves to throw around the term “cancel culture” and frame it as if Conservatives were being canceled for their political ideology. The fact of the matter is that they aren’t being canceled for wanting limited government and lower taxes; they are often canceled for racism, anti-LGBTQ, and other bigoted rhetoric and behavior.

This morning, I was listening to Morning Joe; it was one of those days that reminded me why Joe Scarborough is not a Democratic ally but an ex-Republican who demonstrates he has learned nothing from 2016. In the last segment of their show, they spoke about holding grudges and forgiveness.

In the context of our current partisan divide and how some (on either side) are holding on to anger and refuse to forgive. From Joe Scarborough, this comes from a place of privilege. Forgive insurrection, forgive racism, and forgive all of the right-wing violence we’ve seen in recent years. Many of the bad actors who partook in this behavior still haven’t been held accountable.

Should we forgive them? Sure. Forgive them, don’t harbor anger and hatred. That doesn’t mean that they still shouldn’t be held accountable. Ted Cruz, Brian Babin, Lance Gooden, Ronny Jackson, and all of the rest of the elected officials who participated and contributed to insurrection should be expelled from Congress. Right-wing terrorists from January 6th should be in jail. And our family members who express racism over Thanksgiving dinner should remain cut-off from our lives. That’s accountability.

In recent years, we’ve canceled without accountability, and it’s allowed these problems to fester.

I was born in 1980 (don’t repeat that to anyone), years after the Civil Rights Era, and there has been something I’ve noticed over the years that has eaten at me. Older generations, Republican Baby Boomers specifically, have taken this color-blind approach to how they see America. Even my own parents have previously said that racism isn’t a thing anymore or America is past racism.

We all know this now to not be true.

It’s baffled me for a long time, especially when racism is still so prevalent in America. Tropes and rhetoric used by this group, like ‘welfare queens’ and ‘immigrants are criminals,’ are obviously racist. Yet, when called out on it, the person who used that trope will deny it was being racist.

The question I’ve often asked other people about this is, “How do they not know that’s racist?”

The answer I’m most given back is, “Don’t let them fool you; they know.”

Then, a while back, while researching for something else, I found some interesting things from the 1970s.

The rise of cancel culture.

In 1979, I found an old article, which spoke about a young man in New Jersey and how he was denied a high school diploma for being a member of the KKK. Then there was this one from 1970 when G. Harold Carswell was considering a place on the Supreme Court. He didn’t get picked for the Supreme Court because of his past. In his past, he was an avid segregationist and publicly devoted to white supremacy.

It dawned on me, cancel culture has been around a long time; it’s almost always been based on racism or positions of hate, and America made a mistake when they started holding racists accountable.

The mistake wasn’t holding them accountable but instead not educating them why their positions were abhorrent. As a society, we slapped them on the hand and said, you can’t do that. Instead of learning, what the far-right learned was to hide their racist beliefs better and use dog-whistles more often.

Here is Lee Atwater’s infamous comments about the racist dog-whistles.

Racist dog-whistles rose in the 1970s and continued to be used today with tropes like “welfare queen” and “immigrants are criminals.”

How the rise of racist dog-whistles in the 1970s affect today’s political climate.

In the 1970s, post-Civil Rights Era, when my parents were still teenagers and millions of Generation Xers were born, they were color blind. The Silent Generation started racist dog-whistles in the eras of Nixon and Reagan. They were used as signals to other racists to express their ideas were racist without actually saying something racist.

Our society got condition to not hearing white supremacy in the mainstream anymore. Not like it was before the 1960s. I believe that those born or grew up after the Civil Rights era learned that saying the n-word is racist, but talking about welfare queens is not. So, in their mind, we have moved on from racism because no one says the n-word anymore. Because of their privilege, they can’t see why ‘welfare queen’ is racist or understand why the left is not wanting to forgive the insurrectionists.

In the 1970s, when we began ‘canceling’ people for their racist affiliations and ideology, we should have implemented anti-racist education. Since we never did that, our children in today’s schools still learn racist ideas about history, our current government, and society as a whole. It’s a never-ending cycle.

Accountability is a must.

The only way we’ll see an end to cancel culture is when all racists are held accountable, and new generations are taught equality and inclusion from day one. We’ve all heard it, again and again, each generation is less racist, and when one generation dies, their racism dies out with them. Perhaps that’s true, but many Democrat Baby Boomers and Baby Boomers in my family, whom I hope is around for decades to come.

You’re never too old to learn something new.

If we can teach younger generations to be more inclusive, perhaps it’s not too late for them, either. Education has to be at the root of it all.

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