Cancel Culture has ratcheted into high gear in the wake of the George Floyd riots, with a soccer player getting fired for his wife’s tweet, a church losing its lease over a pastor “liking” supposedly insensitive tweets, and New York Times op-ed editor James Bennet stepping down amid outrage that he published an op-ed by a U.S. senator. Huffpost’s Taryn Finley apparently wants to redirect Cancel Culture — against black celebrities who refuse to toe the line on the left’s race narrative.
Her headline, “Yes, Silence Can Be Violence — But These Celebs Should Shut Up,” included a picture of — you guessed it — black celebrities. “Too many Black stars have made comments condemning the movement for Black lives. It may be time to leave some of your faves behind.”
Finley suggests that every time a black celebrity “outs themselves as strong and wrong about the Black Lives Matter movement,” she wants them to “go.” Just in case it wasn’t clear what she meant, she included a tweet about canceling celebrities.
Finley warned that some black “celebrities and influencers have said some incredibly weird sh*t.” Naturally, she criticized “non-Black celebs” as well, but she said, “it’s especially hurtful hearing Black stars say these things during such a critical time.”
Specifically, she condemned actor Shameik Moore, who urged the black community to stop pointing to “racism” and police behind everything, advice Finely characterized as claiming “Black people could be calm and polite to avoid being killed.” He went on to make remarks suggesting Rosa Parks could have taken a cab, which does seem rather offensive. Finley also called out Terry Crews, who warned that black protesters should work with white protesters to end white supremacy, otherwise they might end up with “Black supremacy” when “equality is the truth.”
Yet it seems Finley’s real outrage concerned the black celebrities who dared to criticize the looting, vandalism, and arson across America that destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments. The Huffpo writer contrasted an attitude of defending “destroyed property” with the proper attitude of standing up for “Black lives,” as though it were impossible to lament the destruction of black businesses and instances of police brutality against black people.
A lot of celebrities have also been quicker to defend destroyed property than they have been to stand up for Black lives. Trina called Black Lives Matter protesters in Miami “animals” and called on the city to keep them off the streets. She also said that protesters need to be worried about Black-on-Black crime. Desi Banks posted a meme calling protesters engaging in civil unrest criminals. Virgil Abloh slammed the “kids that ransacked” his store in the protests and then donated a measly $50 toward a bail fund. Abloh’s net worth is $4 million. People on social media also called out Lori Harvey for showing compassion over her friends’ stores that were affected by the unrest in Atlanta but initially stayed silent about Black Lives Matter. And Shekinah cried over a Gucci store that was looted.
Yes, rioters destroyed black lives and livelihoods, but the real outrage is that these celebrities are crying about it.
Finley seems to suggest that liberals should “cancel” any black celebrity who dared to lament the looting, vandalism, and arson. Sure, these are crimes—in many cases—have killed some black people and done concrete damage to the very businesses black people own and stores where they work and shop. But how dare black celebrities condemn this destruction when it is done in the name of Black Lives Matter?!
The noxious Cancel Culture has already gone too far, and even liberals are terrified of falling afoul of the woke outrage mob after it came for James Bennet.
Finley’s call for black celebrities to be canceled if they don’t toe the line only reveals what many conservatives already knew — the woke inquisition is moving full speed ahead, and it will railroad even members of supposedly oppressed communities if they dare challenge the narrative. How dare black people mention black-on-black crime (which kills orders of magnitude more black people than police shootings of unarmed blacks)? How dare they lament the destruction of black businesses?
The very same people who condemn American society as irredeemably racist will immediately turn around and condemn black people for refusing to toe the line. This astounding cognitive dissonance is tragically common, and it only further illustrates that the activists crying racism are not really concerned about racism, they are concerned about power.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.