Culture

Cancel Culture Comes for a 15-Year-Old Girl, Helped by the NYT and the Univ. of Tennessee

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File

Our culture once raised kids to adulthood with two beliefs firmly in mind: Two wrongs don’t make a right, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. These beliefs served us individually and culturally quite well, teaching mercy and the ethic that revenge is not morally right. Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and all that stuff we’re tossing out.

The latter, the Golden Rule, is one of Christ’s direct teachings. The former is attributed to Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and founder of the United States. In some circles, this means both beliefs should be jettisoned. The New York Times, home of the odious 1619 Project in which a staff reporter tried to do history, failed, and won a Pulitzer, would presumably agree with ditching Rush simply because he was an American founder. Going by the evidence of what happened to a 15-year-old girl in Virginia, those beliefs already have been scrapped and rising generations will live in a social media police state because of it. We wonder why today’s kids are stressed out and uptight. Social media started out as a way to share cat videos. Now it’s digital surveillance for amateur secret police.

Mimi Groves is 18 now and had earned a place on the University of Tennessee cheerleading team along with admission to the taxpayer-funded school. But when she was 15, she earned her learner’s driving permit. To celebrate, the white, blonde girl posted a quick clip to a friend on Snapchat in which she said, “I can drive, (n-word)!” Snapchat is billed as the social media that is not indelible. Clips posted there are supposedly automatically deleted, though they can be saved by recipients. The unnamed friend sent the clip to Jimmy Galligan, a mixed-race student (white father, black mother) at the same high school Groves attended.

Adults know any use of the n-word is offensive to blacks. Children, though, have grown up in a different culture. They’re told it’s unacceptable, but thousands of rap songs they hear and dance to every single day use that word. Groves may have been quoting such a lyric.

Galligan plotted to use the clip against Groves. Three years later, he did, posting it online after Groves did two things: She chose and was accepted to the University of Tennessee, and she posted support for Black Lives Matter as protests swept the nation in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. Rather than receive praise for her virtue signal, someone she didn’t know replied with a “How dare you!” and pointed out she was in a video using the slur. To her horror, there was the clip — everywhere across multiple social media platforms, because Galligan had intentionally posted it there.

Galligan admits in the 2,300+ word story by Dan Levin in the New York Times that he wanted to use the clip to hurt her despite the fact that they had been “friendly” during their high school years.

For his role, Mr. Galligan said he had no regrets. “If I never posted that video, nothing would have ever happened,” he said. And because the internet never forgets, the clip will always be available to watch.

“I’m going to remind myself, you started something,” he said with satisfaction. “You taught someone a lesson.”

He wanted to hurt her, every day, forever.

“I wanted to get her where she would understand the severity of that word,” Mr. Galligan, 18, whose mother is Black and father is white, said of the classmate who uttered the slur, Mimi Groves. He tucked the video away, deciding to post it publicly when the time was right.

The Times amplifies his side of the story, even noting that he once pulled his own white father aside to correct him after hearing him use the slur once. That he didn’t destroy his bread-winner father is significant, though the Times’ Levin chooses not to follow up on that. The father was an adult; Groves was 15 and therefore a child. They committed the same offense. Galligan’s judgment only seems to apply when it will cost others — but not himself.

Galligan knew the social media mob would swarm Groves. That’s explicitly why he posted the three-second clip on social media — to stoke the digital torches-and-pitchforks crowd, knowing it, in turn, would swarm the university and that it would surrender to the mob because that’s what most universities do. They’re the mad scientists who created the cancel culture monster.

In the story, Galligan claims their high school was a hotbed of racial insensitivity and outright slurs. Other students who attended the same school dispute this. Given Galligan’s disturbing actions against Groves, it’s fair to question his perceptions. He stalked her for three years on social media, waiting for just the right time to post the clip with the express intent of ruining her.

Groves had already apologized for the slur long before the clip ever went public. She also, as noted, publicly supported Black Lives Matter this year. Neither mattered. One black friend courageously supported her, but most — mostly strangers — piled on to destroy her. It was “#hasJustinelandedyet” all over again. Supporting the mob is no guarantee it won’t turn on you, as Robespierre’s end proves (if our schools still taught actual history) and recent events confirm. The three-second sin of the child destroys the adult just as her life is getting underway. The university dropped her from the cheerleading team immediately, and the admissions office pressured her to rescind her acceptance until she did.

The university told her and her parents she was unlikely to “feel safe” on campus. Imagine, as a parent, hearing that your daughter will not be safe on a campus of more than 30,000 pre-pandemic, and that campus is in another state. “Helpless” probably doesn’t begin to describe it.

It’s the university culture that begat cancel culture, graduating teachers who now spread it into our public schools to the generation also raised on social media with its intolerant, vitriolic mob mentality and wildly amoral cultural touchstones and explicit hostility to traditional beliefs. It’s the university’s job to make sure students are as physically safe on campus as they can be (despite some student organizations calling to defund university police forces), and it’s not the university’s job to make sure students are safe from ideas and even insults that challenge them. The university culture has gotten this script flipped, deeply damaging our nation’s future.

There are no heroes in this story, but there are several lessons available. Groves made a mistake and is paying for it disproportionately. She will for a long time to come. She was a child steeped in our culture. But that doesn’t matter.

Levin is getting strong negative responses to his story on the same social media used to wreck Groves, but finds support in the least surprising direction: a university professor of sociology and medicine.

Our cultural elites are replacing one faith — Christianity — with another — cancel culture. Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot all tried something similar. Our educational establishment has seen to it that the lessons from those grisly episodes get little to no classroom time, while critical race theory replaces history to keep students dumb and divided.

Galligan has evidently been raised in cancel church without the Golden Rule and Benjamin Rush’s “two wrongs” maxim. He’s headed to Vanguard University, a Christian school, which has not and will not put similar pressure on him to drop despite his years of stalker behavior and plotting to destroy someone in an act of clear revenge. Neither are Christian behaviors but both evidently fall right in line with the cancel faith. The price of losing those two moral cornerstones is simple: the death of mercy and the end of the possibility of redemption. We all need both, but we have a culture in which both are becoming increasingly unlikely and society itself is overwhelmingly coarse and hateful against beauty and truth. When he’ll need mercy, as we all do from time to time, it will not be available to him if he faces off against anyone similar to himself. He should hope and pray he does not.

The New York Times is still the Stalin Times, ever eager to enforce its warped Marxist moral code through outright attack or, in this case, signaling its approval of same. The same paper faced internal revolution for publishing Republican Sen. Tom Cotton’s anti-riots op-ed, which reflected national majority opinion at the time, and its newsroom reporters drove the editor out of his job for publishing it. The editor of the New York Times wasn’t even woke enough.

At the same time or near enough, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Times staff reporter and author of the arrogant and discredited 1619 Project, claimed the violent, destructive, and deadly riots were logical outgrowths of her own work (before deleting that tweet) and faced zero consequences from the Times. Zero. With riots sweeping through New York itself at the time.

New York Times
Now-deleted tweet by 1619 Project author Nikole Hannah-Jones.

In 2015, the New York Times opined in an editorial that universities should begin looking the other way if a prospective student has a criminal record. But it has lost any similar mercy for a 15-year-old who makes a three-second non-criminal mistake when the politics serve the paper’s cultural normative purposes.

If anything deserves canceling in this sad, depressing saga, it’s the New York Times — with cancel-prone universities not far behind.

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