So-Called “Cancel Culture” Doesn’t Exist, But As White Women We Really Want it To (Let’s Move Away From the False Binary of Call-Ins and Call-Outs Too)
I’ve noticed we are confusing cancel culture with accountability. I’m speaking particularly to fellow white women…
Read, respect, and pay educators like Ericka Hart and Wagatwe Wanjuki who are leading conversations and actively writing about this. I’m grateful to them and credit them for my understanding about this topic.
I’ve noticed that we are confusing our own capacity, our specifically white people capacity, to jump down each other’s throats for making mistakes or missteps with the real legitimacy of holding people accountable in public for abusing their power.
For example, when I was beginning my journey of waking up to my attachment to whiteness, when I first realized I was white, when I first read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, I was enraged and furious. I called my parents crying and screaming and was like, “What are we doing??!! What are we going to do?!!”
But this is the most dangerous place a white person can be in their unlearning process. I was a danger and threat to social justice arguably more than when I was “asleep” because I wanted to find someone to blame, someone to point the finger at.
In hindsight, after some painful lessons with deep gratitude to anti-racist educators and organizations like Kenya Budd and AORTA, I’ve learned that a very quintessential, conditioned response of white supremacy culture is to do just that:
Shirk accountability, seek desperately for an external cause, not look in the mirror, not take any personal responsibility, point the finger, blame, project, deflect, and definitely not pause or self-reflect.
White supremacy wants us to react, be impulsive, act from a sense of urgency. It’s a complex systems that needs to be thought about in all of its complexity and the nuanced ways it shows up in our psyches, behaviors, language, etc.