Posted on June 18, 2020

The Call from Inside the House: Cancel Culture Hurts the Left

Hubert Collins, American Renaissance, June 18, 2020

There was a time when only people on the right were fired because of alleged racial insensitivity, but no longer. Veteran left-wing journalist Matt Taibbi recently blew the whistle on ever-intensifying “left-on-left” accusations of racism:

It feels liberating to say after years of tiptoeing around the fact, but the American left has lost its mind. It’s become a cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts, Twitter Robespierres who move from discipline to discipline torching reputations and jobs with breathtaking casualness.

The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation. They are counting on the guilt-ridden, self-flagellating nature of traditional American progressives, who will not stand up for themselves, and will walk to the Razor voluntarily.

Mr. Taibbi cites examples of leftists losing their jobs in the last three weeks over minor infractions against racial orthodoxy. Two are worth highlighting. First is that of David Shor, a data scientist who worked on President Obama’s reelection campaign. He tweeted about research done by Omar Wasow (who is black) that suggests non-violent protests bring about more positive social change than violent ones — and that rioting encourages people to vote Republican. Many on Twitter saw this as criticism of the recent violent protests, and called it “anti-black.” The controversy mounted and Mr. Shor was fired.

Second is Lee Fang, an investigative journalist for The Intercept. Mr. Fang has been accused of racism by other leftists before, but his most recent troubles began when he dared note that the frequently cited Martin Luther King, Jr. quote, “a riot is the language of the unheard” is misleading without context. Leftist cite King every time there is a riot to claim that torching and looting are the only way rioters can get their message out. Mr. Fang pointed out that those words are an aside in a speech King made, and that if you read the whole speech, it’s clear that he was condemning violence and destruction. Mr. Fang got in trouble because 1) Many think criticism of riots is racist. 2) Mr. Fang is not black, so it’s unconscionable for him to explain what a black person (MLK) meant.

The other shoe dropped when he tweeted this:

A black co-worker promptly replied:

Leftists think it’s racist to talk about black-on-black crime because it distracts from police killings of blacks. By tweeting an interview that mentioned black-on-black crime, Mr. Fang was”elevating” a dishonest conservative “narrative” that undermines the fight against systemic racism, and that is tantamount to being racist. Many other employees at The Intercept supported Mr. Lacy’s attack on Mr. Fang and not one colleague defended him. Their employer told Mr. Fang to apologize and stay out of trouble or he would be fired. Mr. Fang issued a groveling apology. So far, he still has a job.

Many readers may have a hard time believing these things happened, but I follow the Left closely, and attended a very woke private liberal arts college. This kind of thing is common. It’s getting more attention than usual because, since the death of George Floyd, there has been a spate of these incidents in just a few weeks.

Some are asking: “Is this the ‘peak’ of ridiculous racial sensitivity? Will there be blow back?” No. Many of the people lobbing accusations of racism against their fellow leftists believe what they are saying. They have a religious fervor and a hatred for sinners that they will not soon give up. Other accusers have selfish reasons. Within the Left, accusing a colleague of racism (or sexual misconduct) is a good way to get rid of a competitor. It also shows people who might criticize your work that you wield a powerful sword, and can swing it any time. If, at the same time, you can cast yourself as a victim, it’s great job security, and a way to bulldoze anyone who might threaten your security. And on the Left, there is no cost to lodging spurious accusations of racism, so why stop?

The few leftists who criticize the excesses of racial sensitivity and “cancel culture” are clustered around very minor websites, such as The Bellows, or niche podcasts such as What’s Left (Benjamin Studebaker and Aimee Terese are two good examples). They are all pro-union, anti-corporation, and anti-identity politics. In other words, unlike non-white pressure groups, and the mainstream left that combines anti-white policies with pro-business economics, none will be getting serious financial support from big business or moneyed elites. Their North Star was Bernie Sanders, who has now been crushed electorally twice, and whose movement is a rudderless mess.

In the long term, some blow back is inevitable — but don’t expect it soon. The left will continue to be rife with snitching, dishonest accusations, purges, and paranoia. This is good. Those people created that culture as a weapon against white conservatives, and now they are suffering from it. It’s a shame there isn’t a German word for enjoying the suffering of others.