Major brands, celebrities, leaders, but also quidams, no one is more immune to the “cancel” culture ” that denounces their wanderings and request accounts, to the point that some have denounced its excesses, and its contribution to political polarization.
The writer J. K. Rowling has made the charges for remarks that were deemed offensive to transgender people: a declaration of controversy, a tweet ambiguous decade-old, video-committal, and the social networks to attack the author.
It should be ” cancel “, literally remove it but, more concretely, tarnish its image, or to disrupt its activity, until he makes the weapons, apologize, try to repair.
The YouTubeur star Shane Dawson and old videos to the racist content, or the singer Lana Del Rey and a message on Instagram that critical artists black have both been caught by the wave ” cancel “.
There are also trademarks, rice, Uncle Ben’s and his imagery deemed racist, the food giant Goya, attacked after the support of his director-general, to Donald Trump.
“Activism on Twitter, it’s easy: in a handful of seconds, you can attack someone, or make a petition for it to be dismissed or put to the index “, says Richard Ford, a professor of law at Stanford.
This university is part of the more than 150 personalities from the world of arts and sciences signed a letter ” on the justice and open debate “, published in early July on the website of the magazine Harper’s, which is concerned about the excesses of this movement.
He acknowledges, however, that ” a party of activism on social networks is constructive and legitimate “.
Many see the “cancel” culture ” to the emergence of a new power, now available to the greatest number while he was up here with the exclusivity of a handful.
“The time when people who are treated unfairly could not meet the views of the retrograde and toxic is completed “, welcomes Lisa Nakamura, a professor at the university of Michigan, who has studied the “cancel” culture “.
“If a personality wants to exclude transgender people,” she said, ” there is no reason that it cannot be ruled out in return. “
As other, the teacher also sees in this movement, which had its first hour of glory with the movement #MeToo in 2017, a much wider spectrum, which now includes the ordinary of behaviors discriminating.
She cites the example of Amy Cooper, filmed in Central Park in the process of demanding that the police stop a black man for no valid reason.
“The +cancel culture+, this is what happens when the victims of racism and sexism do not remain silent over the identity of their perpetrators “, says Lisa Nakamura.
But for Keith Hampton, a professor of media and information at the university of Michigan State, if the social networks can be vectors of change and progress, the “cancelling” can ” skid “.
“If he is trying to destroy people,” he says, ” then that creates other problems. “
The authors of the open letter to Harper’s warning of a radicalisation of the movement, which does not allow further discussion.
Social networks “encourage the provocation and anger, while being virtually devoid of nuances,” says Richard Ford.
He is alarmed at the fact that the “cancel” culture ” is now expressed regularly in addition to networks social, in the academic world or the work in general.
“Sometimes, the goal is only the satisfaction of making someone fall “, he complained.
In addition, “the shame and the update of the index do not change opinions,” says Keith Hampton, for whom this aspect of the movement “will likely increase the polarization” of american society.
This polarization is fueled according to him, the forces which have interest to sow division and inflame the social climate.
Donald Trump and his supporters denounce as well the concept for several weeks using it to demonize the movement born after the death of the Afro-American George Floyd. They accuse the protesters of threatening the foundations of american society by practicing the “cancel” culture ” to the utmost, and by including down the statues of personalities related to the slavery and persecution of minorities.
It is, however, the american president himself, recalls Richard Ford, who has promoted the “cancel crop” in recent years by going online, especially on Twitter, to individuals or groups that he wanted to discredit.
The phenomenon can be problematic when it divides a social movement, or taking on the wrong people, “says Lisa Nakamura, but” it has already been an important tool of change. “
“The movement Black Lives Matter would have been very different without the examples of everyday racism in the (supermarket) Walmart, on the jogging trails or in other public places. “