By now, most of us are familiar with the term, “Cancel Culture” as it has been a prominent topic in recent years. It generally starts as a social media hashtag campaign against something or someone determined to be morally irredeemable, whether due to some recent behavior or perceived offense or a revelation of some history, and it ends with that person or thing being shamed, ostracized, and removed from society. Cancel culture has been notorious for canceling any and everything that it arbitrarily finds offensive and in violation of progressive ideology, no matter how innocuous. While I normally stand firmly against cancel culture in this extremely toxic and destructive form, I do wonder why it can’t be used to cancel things that actually matter, things that are actually harmful to society, things that actually destroy people’s lives. Things like hood culture.
The current version of cancel culture has meant books being removed from libraries and school curriculums, statues being torn down, words and phrases being essentially banned from usage, dictionary definitions being altered, traditions being dismantled, police being defunded and disbanded, Aunt Jemima being replaced (not joking), and anyone who violates any of the “moral” mandates set forth will be fired from their jobs and see their reputations destroyed. The nature of the trend has been totalitarian, where this “moral cleansing” centered around far-left progressive ideology seems to have no end to who or what it will target. But ultimately, who does it help? Who is harmed by Aunt Jemima pancakes? Who is suffering from walking past a statue of Christopher Columbus? Whose life was destroyed because they read To Kill a Mockingbird? But hood culture? It destroys thousands of lives every year. In the last week, alone, 63 people were shot and killed in Chicago, and among them were 6 young children, including a 1-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a 10-year-old. Where are the movements for them? Where are the marches and protests? Where are the social media campaigns, the hashtags, the emotional speeches and vows to make certain nothing like this will ever happen again? Where in the world is cancel culture? And why is it nowhere to be found at precisely the time we need it the most?
I made this point on Twitter and Facebook recently, but it bears repeating. People will go after all kinds of other cultures including police culture, corporate culture, campus culture, sports cultures, and American culture, itself. Any culture or perceived cultural behaviors deemed to be problematic or harmful will be placed in the crosshairs of the mob and demands will be pushed for complete transformation. Anyone who is publicly caught not adhering to these demands for change will inevitably find themselves the target of cancel culture and have their lives upended. But, for some reason, ghetto culture gets a pass. The hood is apparently exempt. It shouldn’t be.
When it comes to cultural toxicity, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything worse than what exists in America’s inner cities. Are there any other neighborhoods where gunfire is normal, where homicides are the status quo, where children are murdered regularly...other than third world countries? Yet, instead of demanding change of those engaged in the culture that gives rise to these behaviors, the blame is invariably placed elsewhere. History, the police, government, white people, any and everything else except for the culture itself, must accept culpability and change. Yet, we witness politicians, journalists, talking heads, progressive activists, and many others who are all so quick to condemn someone like a Supreme Court nominee, claiming he is a rapist with no evidence and announcing he is a product of a toxic culture that needs to be eradicated, but then shrug their shoulders and offer no such passionate condemnations of a gang banger who shoots and kills a toddler and flat out refuses to hold his culture responsible. How is this possible?
People who do not subscribe to the values of “the hood” are generally thriving in America. People who do are not. That has nothing to do with race either. White people, black people, Latino people, it doesn’t matter. Anyone who embraces the tenets of hood life tends to experience poor outcomes. And those people feed into the perpetuation of the cycle of poverty, defeatism, and violence. No amount of money, community action programs, or politics is going to break that cycle. That should be clear by now after years of failure. It will take a complete cultural paradigm shift.
It is time that we demand to change. Not from the government, but from the people themselves. Maybe instead of worrying about removing statues of long-dead Confederate soldiers, we should worry about removing the culture that belittles education and elevates ignorance, the culture that glorifies social deviancy, the culture that embraces a sense of entitlement and deflects personal accountability, the culture that promotes gang life and prison tattoos, the culture that promotes drug use, and street violence, the culture that promotes sagging pants, poor grammar, and thug personas, the culture that promotes disrespecting authority, the culture that promotes a no-snitch policy causing most murders to go unsolved, the culture that riots, loots, and burns down its own neighborhoods, the culture that leads the country in abortions, the culture that promotes sexual promiscuity and abandoning parental responsibility, the culture that celebrates rappers and athletes who embody these things while rejecting great thinkers and role models like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Walter Williams, and Shelby Steele. Perhaps we should focus on rooting out the cultural attitudes that lead to fatherless homes, that lead to high-school dropouts, that lead to poor math, reading, and writing proficiencies, that lead to lack of job skills and unemployment, that lead to welfare dependency, that leads to a lack of respect for human life, that lead to all manners of criminality and violence, that lead to innocent little children, like three-year-old Mekhi James, being shot and killed in their living rooms. The culture is destroying these communities. Not white people. Not police. Not some history of slavery. THE CULTURE. It is the culture that needs to change. No one else.
If you want to cancel something that is truly toxic and actually causes widespread harm and destruction, something that hurts the innocent, something that hurts women, something that hurts children, something that has a horrific history, something full of bigotry and racism, and something that actually harms minorities — if you want to cancel something that is actually morally irredeemable, then cancel THAT.