Blacklisted. Censored. Punished. This is what happens when you don’t show complete allegiance to liberal ideologies and movements, such as Black Lives Matter. In today’s hypersensitive political climate, people are scorned and rebuked for deviating from prevailing orthodoxies. This knee-jerk reaction to call someone a “racist” or “bigot” is intolerant because it forces people into silent submission.
The rise of social media has made it possible for citizen journalists and others (without huge platforms and power) to voice their opinions and concerns about critical issues. But now, people are hesitant to express their opinion for fear they’ll be scoffed at, or scorned by some in power. Powerful journalists, writers, and academicians are defining the boundaries when it comes to debating issues, making it clear that crossing certain boundaries can have serious consequences, such as job loss.
David Shor, Emmanuel Cafferty, and Harald Uhlig are just some of the casualties of “cancel culture.” David Shor, a data analyst and progressive, cited a research study suggesting that nonviolent protests are more effective than violent protests.
He was fired.
Emmanuel Cafferty, a truck driver, had his arm hanging from outside his truck and was cracking his knuckles. Another driver misinterpreted this as a “white supremacist” gesture since it looked like he was making an “Okay” hand sign, which has been appropriated as a symbol meaning “white power.”
Nonetheless, he was fired.
Harald Uhlig, a professor of economics and editor of the Journal of Political Economy, tweeted criticism of the BLM movement’s push to defund the police. Soon, a petition–with 500 signers–demanded his removal from the editoral board of the Journal. The University of Chicago didn’t bend under the pressure of the powerful signatories; instead, they investigated the allegation impartially and concluded that Uhlig didn’t engage in any discriminatory conduct.
He survived the mob and remains on the editorial board.
Recently, a group of prominent journalist, writers, and academicians signed a letter, published in Harper’s magazine, that ostensibly supports free speech and encourages open debate and discourse. Let’s hold the signers of the Harper’s letter accountable and ensure that they don’t demonize those with opposing viewpoints or ideologies.