Online, the center of one’s world (one’s self) asserts itself as if it were a god among more or less equal gods. Though we may be moderated, we can post whatever we like on any site that offers us access to. We can each get a social media account and become like the gods of our own planet.
This has made having an opinion or perspective mean something different than when one had to at least gain some sort of audience person to person or through indirect media with lots of gatekeeping. Now we can blurt out whatever we like, and it is immediately in front of hundreds or thousands of eyes. If what we are saying appeals to any of their feelings or offends them, we’ll get instant feedback.
Thing is, none of us are able to physically manifest in the way of a god. I can say that I like wind or rain, but creating wind or rain would require some physical effort using my physical body and tools. Even then I am limited by my skills and the available technology. In this form, I am unable to directly change the weather solely by thinking about what I would like, or even saying it.
It is for this reason I say cancel culture is not a real thing. It is simply wannabe gods all asserting their opinion one way or another. It is the person targeted by a group who decides what they wish to focus on. The more money and power they have, the more luxury they have to ignore the gods in whose favor they aren’t.
Much like the meat world, where there are innumerable forces of Nature present, each manifesting as they do, some more relevant to an individual than others, it is impossible to please one god without offending some other. You may eat a sweet that pleases Oshun but the sugar in that same sweet may have been harvested from a field in a way that offends Yewa. You may fight in a war and please Ogun, but for a cause or politicians who offend Shango.
There is no way that one person can be pleasing to all people at all times, and truthfully no way that a person who hasn’t lived an experience will truly get another who has. In fact, people may go through very similar experiences and still interpret them very differently.
Basically, if you watch a Straight or even Bi man long enough, he is going to say something homophobic, transphobic, or misogynistic, or something that could be interpreted as such. It’s only a matter of time. The cancel brigades should lighten up if someone is willing to listen and learn, but I am being overly optimistic about what they should do. “Haters gonna hate.” It’s better that the person being targeted consider them much like the gods who are offended when they accidentally inhale a gnat.
It may seem strange to some that as much as I personally have been injured and traumatized by groupthink, I would be so casual about it. That is what healing does. One stops taking personal injuries too personally. Yes there should be accountability, and yes it can be a bad thing, but my personal issues are not as important as the big issue: democracy. Imperfect as it is and injurious as toxic groupthink can be, we are still humans and we do still need each other to survive. So we should fight both toxic groupthink and threats to democracy.
It is a difficult balance to achieve. It is still a balance worth striving for.
I am positive that I have said some offensive things in my time on the internet. When I have caught myself in the wrong, like in the feminism thing (didn’t know I was a maternal feminist leaning womanist), I corrected, apologized when warranted and informed of my wrongness, and moved on. I don’t beg for anyone’s attention or demand that people who I’ve offended forgive me or like me. They do not owe me their attention or their approval.
Folks should get used to being wrong, told they are wrong, and making amends, and sometimes having to live without some folks’s approval despite apologizing and making amends. Nobody should take being slandered without an answer, but when we’re talking about how a marginalized community receives something, one has to take a step back and see if it’s really slander or an opinion about one’s behavior that one just doesn’t like. If you did the deed then you don’t get to choose for someone else how they should feel about what you actually did or said.
By the same, whenever someone joins a group in doing something, they should consider that the consequences of those actions may not fall the way they like either. The person or people on the receiving end may not take your group’s approval or disapproval the way you want them to either.
Everybody needs to realize that none of us controls the thoughts of others, nor should we. A person or group can control behavior to some degree, but we can’t make someone like a situation or a person. This is a part of nature that needs to be accepted in order to have any control in a social or political situation.
I won’t get into a how to because saying or writing some things will come off as misanthropic no matter how gentle I am. I will just leave it to what I’ve already said to sink in. Just understand that I wish for a world wherein everyone has a shot at a decent life with dignity. I wish for a world where everyone gets clean water, nutritious food, and comfortable shelter. I wish for a world wherein someone has to commit an actual crime against another person to have their freedoms limited, and those limits should actually fit the crime. I wish for a world in which no child has to fear that their own parents or anyone else would harm or kill them, and especially not because they are Gay or have different spiritual beliefs or disbelief or doubt.
Anything I do or say is with those wishes in mind. So if I am acting counter productively, feel free to tell me. I don’t mind hearing it. I may never be famous, but if I ever do, and I forget what I’ve said here, remind me. Loudly. Spam me with the reminders if you must. Just don’t send me death threats. I already know I’m mortal.
Blessings and Ashe!