Canceling is Not Censorship

(A Twitter thread)

Effective censorship requires systemic power. This is related to the conversation about *ism and the non-existent “reverse *ism”: I can have prejudices that are negative about cisgender people, for instance, but I don’t have the power of the system behind me.

When we transgender folk “cancel” JKR and DC, our power is limited. We can stop consuming their products. We can bang our largely impotent fists on the table. But if Joni Mitchell and Neil Young canceling Spotify can’t sway them, what chance do we have against Netflix?

Maybe we’ll convince a single publisher to avoid a particularly egregious writer. But the writer hasn’t been completely silenced, and that’s rarely our goal anyway.

In contrast: Maus. Silenced. One fell swoop. That’s how censorship really works.

Canceling is just people using their freedom of expression to announce that they will not be consuming a particular voice.

As is our right.

As is your right.

The dogpiles are inappropriate. The doxxing is inappropriate. But they’re also a rare and ham-fisted attempt to usurp some of that systemic power.

I don’t approve of those sorts of actions, but it is part of the “voice of the unheard” (to borrow from MLK).

Dogpiling and doxxing by the marginalized are a direct response to the powerlessness we feel in the face of an oppressive system that is designed against us. “Canceling”, in the main, is just about declaring our lack of consent to consume.

It’s not censorship.

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