By: Nevaeh Richardson
Cancel culture claims to be this indiscriminate force bringing accountability to the rich and powerful. But it’s no secret that certain groups manage to evade the watchful eye of cancel culture, and those groups are more often than not white. This is not to say that wrong-doers of Black heritage should be exempt from retribution, but merely highlighting the fact that America will turn a blind eye to white offenders while waiting for a Black public figure to slip up and fail.
While cancel culture for white public figures means paying their public relations team to write a half-baked apology and continuing business as usual after being exposed for being a bigot, exploiter, etc., “cancel culture” could mean the end of a career for Black figures.
The most recent examples of cancel culture’s double standards between whites and Black people include ESPN’s suspension of Sage Steele after her remarks about former President Obama’s race, misogynistic comments, and anti-vaccination statements on the podcast Uncut.
Steele criticized Obama’s decision to identify as Black, considering the fact that he is biracial. She also implied that women warranted rude, sexist, and harassing comments by what they choose to wear.
“…when you dress like that, I’m not saying you deserve the gross comments, but you know what you’re doing when you’re putting that outfit on,” she said.
Steele finished off with anti COVID-19 vaccine statements, saying that ESPN’s vaccine mandate was “sick” and “scary.”
A week after the podcast episode aired, ESPN issued a statement announcing that Steele would be suspended from the network for a week and has been removed as the host of the 2021 ESPNW: Women + Sports Summit.
Steele was completely in the wrong, there’s no argument about that and her consequences were rightfully deserved, but there’s something to be said about her white male counterparts who have expressed the exact same misogynistic, anti-Black, and anti-vaccination sentiments without so much as a slap on the wrist.
Comedian Dave Chappelle also faced backlash for his most recent Netflix special, “The Closer,” after he expressed some incendiary opinions about transwomen and the LGBTQ+ community. He was also accused of supporting insensitive comments by rapper DaBaby and “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling.
“They canceled J.K. Rowling — my God. Effectually she said gender was a fact. The trans community got mad as sh**, they started calling her a TERF,” Chappelle said, which means “trans-exclusionary radical feminists,” whose views about feminism are seen as anti-trans. He added, “I’m team TERF… Gender is a fact.”
Chapelle was immediately slammed by social media, with celebrities boycotting Netflix and calling for Chapelle’s show to be cancelled, particularly white, trans producer Jaclyn Moore of Netflix’s “Dear White People.”
After an investigation into the Washington Football Club, where hundreds of thousands of emails containing racist, mysogynistic, and homophobic language were found. Only Las Vegas Raiders Coach Jon Gruden was found responsible and resigned. There have been no emails released to the public.
Lawyers representing 40 former employees of the team who reported sexual harrassment and other workplace misconduct urged the NFL to immediately release the full findings of the investigation. They called it “outrageous” that only Gruden has been “held accountable” after the 10-month probe.
What we know for a fact is that Gruden is not the only person responsible for these emails, and that others are being protected by the NFL.
It’s time to call out cancel culture’s purposely-placed blind spots, which never fail to punish Black offenders while ignoring and protecting white ones.