Saturday, September 14, 2019

Cancel Culture Doesn't Exist

The fear surrounding cancel culture is rooted in the belief of false accusations.

People believe that false accusations can occur at any time, for no reason other than to harm one person, and benefit another.

People believe that "any random person" can make "any claim they want" about you and the world will chew you up and spit you out.

People believe that evidence is needed. That both sides of the story are needed. That the accused is innocent until proven guilty.

These are the core tenants that backlashers against cancel culture hold closest and believe with everything they have.

It's. All. Bullshit.

I won't speak about the fact that cancel culture doesn't exist. There are other articles that do it better.

And I won't speak about the fact that canceling someone was a tool for underprivileged people to call out the people in power for harmful practices. There are other articles that do it better.

But I will say this:

If someone close to you, physically or emotionally, comes forward to other people than yourself, saying that you are abusive, harmful, negligent, predatory, or any other claim they may have...that is evidence.

If a person who does not know you says a thing about you, it only means so much. It cannot "cancel" you. These things happen for various reasons and these are not the things we hear about on twitter or youtube. BUT YET this is the fear.

Someone will come out of nowhere and ruin your life and the world will buy into it.

This does not happen.

What it does, this fear, it clouds the waters.

Now, when someone with a personal connection to someone, comes forward and says that they are is met with a "he-said, she-said" discussion. "There are two sides to every story." "Where is the evidence?"

You're looking at it.

I will say this very slowly.

If the people closest to you tell the world that you have a problem, it means two things:

1. You have a problem.
2. They are not comfortable telling you that you have a problem.

The internet at large cannot make unbased claims against an individual that result in anything.

But your colleagues, your friends, you family...your wife...

That is evidence.

You cannot fight those. You cannot tell them they are wrong. These are the people that know you. They interact with you. They've worked with you. They've seen how you react in a natural state.

That is evidence.

And you can throw all the bullshit at the wall and see what sticks if you want. "I need evidence" or "they're just trying to ruin my life" or whatever else.

But that stuff doesn't matter. Again, these are the people who have ACTUALLY interacted with you.

And the reaction of the internet to claims like these are based in that firm understanding. Anything that you say after the fact IS manipulation. We do not live in a court. You do not get to decide WHEN or IF people are harmed by the things you do. Regardless of intention.

When one of these people makes a claim against you, the reaction should NOT be to defend yourself.

The reaction should be to figure out what about yourself are you ignoring? What are you doing that is harming these people? ESPECIALLY if you do not believe that your actions are harmful.

This happens. It happens every day. We do something and someone gets upset and we aren't sure how to react. "I didn't mean to upset them."

Intentions do not matter.

The world is a big, messy placed, filled with people who have history behind everything that they do. It is possible to be harmful and not know it. It is possible to be abusive to the people you love and be unaware. It is possible to neglect people and have no sense of it.

These things are possible and they happen and trying to defend yourself against an accusation of such a thing is manipulative and dodging responsibility.

AS SOON as you defend yourself, the playing field shifts to a court room. And you know it. Most people want it, because these sort of accusation can't be proven explicitly, most of the time. Underlying behaviors of someone that you've grown to know on a personal level are impossible to measure and very difficult to capture in a single moment.

Resentment builds over time.

Hate can be hard to process.

Emotions are complicated.

I will say it again:

An accusation of harm towards you is not up for debate. It is about who makes the accusation first, and what you do in reaction to that.

If your wife tells you that you have abused her, that's final.

If a colleague claims you sexually harassed her, that's final.

If a friend tells you that you are emotionally manipulative...that's final.

You do not get to decide how people react to your actions, and most of the time you are unaware of any harmful traits you have.

LISTEN to the people who have the strength and the courage to come forward.

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