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Cancel Cancel Culture, Replace with Correction Culture

by Todd A. Smith

 

 

Cancel Culture Should Give Way to Correction Culture


People should have room to grow.


After the tragic killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, many White Americans had an epiphany of sorts when it came to systemic racism.


Even celebrities like actress Blake Lively and her husband actor Ryan Reynolds had to come to grips with the fact they had blinders on when it came to race relations.


But although we live in a society in which cancel culture runs rampant, we have to give people a chance to grow and learn from their prior lack of knowledge.


If we cannot accept growth and change, we have to ask ourselves do we really want change, or do we simply want something to complain about?


Lively and Reynolds came under fire, initially in 2018 after the release of the movie “Black Panther,” for having their wedding at a South Carolina plantation.


Reynolds had praised the diversity of the movie “Black Panther,” on and off camera, before someone called him out for his choice for a wedding venue.


For many African-Americans, the thought of stepping foot on a plantation induces nausea.


So to have one of your most important days of your life take place there would not even get discussed.


But for many White Americans, racism is not something they confront everyday.


Many White Americans did not grow up hearing stories of family members that came up missing after “disrespecting” a White person.


Many White Americans did not grow up hearing stories of people having to hide in ditches at night when they heard an approaching car fearing that it could be a lynch mob.


Many White Americans do not have to drive through neighborhoods and cities throughout the South with monuments dedicated to their oppressors.


No Adolf Hitler statutes exist anywhere to my knowledge.


No neighborhoods are named after concentration camps.


Therefore, White privilege allows many to avoid the atrocities that exist in the world as it pertains to skin color.


Black America and White America are just two totally different places.


But ignorance should not face ridicule unless the person remains comfortable in their ignorance.


When a person wants to learn and correct their wrongs, they should not only be allowed to do so.


They should also receive applause.


In a May Instagram post, Reynolds said, “We’ve never had to worry about preparing our kids for different rules of law or what might happen if we’re pulled over in the car. We don’t know what it’s like to experience that life day in and day out. We can’t imagine feeling that kind of fear and anger. We’re ashamed that in the past we’ve allowed ourselves to be uninformed about how deeply rooted systemic racism is.”


I recently had a conversation with a friend, who is White, and told him about my experiences with racism from being refused service in a Houston restaurant to having the cops called for playing basketball with a friend in his driveway.


The White lady said that she wanted the neighborhood quiet because she liked to read books in her garage and therefore did not want us to play basketball.


She was one of the first Karens before random White women got that moniker for calling the police on African-Americans for doing legal things.


My friend, initially against the Black Lives Matter movement, could not believe my experiences with racism.


Hopefully, that shock created an ally for the movement.


Although I did not like his initial thoughts on Black Lives Matter, I did not cancel him because of his lack of knowledge or empathy because it works both ways.


During a filming of my talk show “Regal Roundtable” in 2012, I asked Houston community activist Quanell X why we did not see more non-African-Americans protesting the death of Trayvon Martin?


He responded, for the same reason we do not see many African-Americans protesting some of this country’s unjust immigration laws.


Quanell basically said that people often do not get upset unless an issue adversely affects them.


Fortunately, Floyd changed the dynamic, hopefully for good.


For the first time in my lifetime, after Floyd and Taylor’s deaths, I saw a rainbow coalition of protestors seeking justice and shouting, “Black lives matter.”


Some of those non-African-American protestors might have held racist views in the past.


Some of them might have denied that racism exists.


Some might have not paid attention because it did not negatively affect them.


But now things have changed for many people, and that is why so many African-Americans talked about race and racism for decades, even though people did not always believe our stories of discrimination.


Now, adversaries have become allies and America can hopefully live up to its creed, finally, that all men are created equal.


Lively and Reynolds have not only expressed regret for their 2012 plantation wedding.


They have put more money where their mouths are.


TheGrio.com reported, “Reynolds and Lively have apparently turned their error into a call of action. The couple each donated $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. After witnessing the horrors of police brutality and racial violence which reached a fever pitch in May, Reynolds and (Lively) donated an additional $200,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.”


Just as important, they have begun providing opportunities for people of color with their production company, Maximum Effort.


Reynolds said, “Representation and diversity need to be completely immersive. Like, it needs to be embedded at the root of storytelling, and that’s in both marketing and Hollywood. When you add perspective and insight that isn’t your own, you grow.”


And the fact that so many non-African-Americans have grown throughout this turbulent year is proof of why cancel culture should face cancellation in favor of correction.


This article was published on Friday 07 August, 2020.
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