Race and Cancel Culture (Pt. 2)


Roxanne M., Co-Editor-in-Chief

One of the main issues of cancel culture is that it primarily targets and impacts minority groups. A prime example of this phenomenon would be the incident that occurred at the 2022 Academy Awards Ceremony, when Will Smith punched Chris Rock due to a comment made about his wife. Many other, white, celebrities went on Twitter to publicly denounce Will Smith and his actions, often being completely over dramatic, and making up scenarios that made absolutely no sense. People even made petitions and arguments to strip his Oscar win away from him, which he won later in the night. Smith was even banned from any Academy Events, including the Oscars for the next ten years. There has even been a crisis team in place for the 2023 Oscars, after the events that occurred last year.

This only further proved the hypocrisy of Hollywood, as many of the celebrities who were criticizing and openly villainizing Will Smith are still open supporters of white Hollywood Directors, who have multiple abuse and sexual assault charges placed against them. For example, men such as Woody Allen and Harvey Weinstein have copious amounts of Oscar awards, and are still praised and admired regardless of the fact that they have been found guilty of sexual crimes against women in the industry. Roman Polanksi was not expelled from the Academy until 40 years after he was accused of sexual assault crimes. These are men who actually abused their power, yet still have the Oscars and supporters.

This not only happens in Hollywood, but in real life, as people of color are also canceled and vilified by the prison system. A further example of race determining the severity of cancel culture is in the case of Jarvis Masters, a 61-year-old African American man who has been imprisoned for 42 years, and is currently on death row under the charges of armed robbery. However, based on the evidence, Masters has been proven to be most likely innocent of all crimes that he was charged with. Though many have brought this lack of evidence against Masters to the public, the legal system has done nothing to change it. Masters was racially profiled, and incarcerated for most of his life, without any concrete evidence against him.

On the other hand, you have people such as Kyle Rittenhouse, a white boy who consciously killed two men, who was cleared of all charges, even though there was absolute evidence that he had shot and killed two people during a BLM protest. Rittenhouse even personally met former president, Donald J. Trump, after being acquitted of his charges, was seen as something to rejoice. There have been many other cases where men of color have been incarcerated for the same crimes or sometimes even lesser crimes than their white counterparts, yet will not even receive a trial or any fair play. Cancel culture does not allow for any growth to occur, and when coupled with the criminalization of people of color, it destroys lives.

Overall, race plays an important role in Cancel Culture, as those who are minorities are more impacted than those who are not. Cancel culture only further fits in with stereotypes, and how people of color in the media, and life in general, are vilified and seen as violent.