Former SNL cast, Andrew Yang rally around Shane Gillis after SNL firing
The comedy community is rallying around a now-disgraced comedian who had his new role as a Saturday Night Live cast member yanked from him due to “cancel culture.”
In what may be the final straw in the debasing of mainstream comedy, SNL publicly announced Monday its decision to cancel the hiring of comedian Shane Gillis due to some of his old jokes that an SNL spokesperson called called “offensive, hurtful and unacceptable.”
Berlin-based climate activist Karin Louise Hermes has left the climate movement because she couldn’t deal with the white people anymore. She felt like her concerns as a person of colour, about the racist impact of climate change, were not adequately represented or respected. What this means is that identity politics is eating itself.
We’ve heard tell about the climate crisis facing our world. The rhetoric goes that we’ve got maybe 12 years to turn this ship around before we all suffer something akin to the fate of the dinosaurs and cause our own extinction. Greta Thunberg practically dropped out of school because of it. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says it’s probably a good reason to not have kids. Extinction Rebellion blocks roads and public transit to draw attention to the dire consequences of climate change. But for Hermes and Vice magazine, those white people just make saving the world impossible.
Hermes was asked to speak at climate change awareness-raising events, and often told the story of her family in the Philippines that had suffered tragic losses during and in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. The predominantly white Germans and Europeans in the audience were receptive, empathetic, and moved by her words.
Hermes said she “felt required to tell my Filipino family’s experience during speeches and rallies because this form of “storytelling” was the only thing that would move a mostly white European audience to an emotional response of climate urgency—even though it was exhausting telling the story, especially since any mention of hurricanes in the news gives me anxiety.”
Any cause worth undertaking is exhausting. The work of “world-saving” is not easy. Hermes was probably not the only one who was made tired by her efforts. Her climate activist colleagues would probably be horrified to know that their empathy and concern for Hermes’ family was racist. In fact, Hermes wasn’t the only climate activist of colour who has had this experience.
“Many other climate activists of colour have described similar experiences of tokenism,” she writes. “Māori and disability rights campaigner Kera Sherwood-O’Regan (Kāi Tahu iwi from Te Waipounamu) found that as an Indigenous person at the UN climate conferences, organizers would suggest showing support and ‘passing the mic,’ but the same people would be the ones taking up space in negotiations and speaking to the media.”
This forces the question of whether fighting to prevent climate change is more or less important than securing a prominent place for yourself and your personal story in front of the mic. This could be asked to a person with any collection of identity markers. What’s more important, the message or the messenger?
If the answer is the messenger, or something more nuanced, such as the messenger is the message, then how can there be a unified front opposing climate change?
Perhaps there can’t be. Perhaps there are as many messages as there are messengers, and the cacophonous voices against climate change can not be stitched together. Perhaps climate change activism will be eaten by identity politics.
Hermes believes that “Anti-racism and anti-capitalism need to be made part of organizing.” But is the lack of inclusion of those things in the mainstream climate change movement a detriment to that movement? Is there anything to be said for picking a simple cause and going all-in without any modifiers? Apparently not.
“Fortunately,” writes Hermes, “there is now a growing BIPOC Environmental & Climate Justice Collective in Berlin, where we share these experiences of being silenced or tokenized and work together on how to link anti-racism and inequality in climate justice.”
She quotes Sherwood-O’Regan, who said, “As we grow and climate change becomes a harsher reality, privileged activists need to learn to de-centre themselves and meaningfully support Indigenous, disabled, queer, global south, POC, and other marginalized people who are on the frontlines of climate change.”
Because for Hermes and so many others, the messenger is more important than the message. The messenger is the message. Despite the terms used, and the advocacy for the voices of persons of color, this call for people of one skin colour and ethnic background to be decentered in favour of centring people from different skin colours and backgrounds is about tribal dominance. And it’s silly. And it won’t save the world.
Update: On Thursday, Facebook accepted our appeal and reversed its decision. Our article and post were restored and it was determined that The Post Millennial and our author, Libby Emmons, were not in violation of Facebook policy.
Facebook has flagged The Post Millennial for hate speech … against “white women.” In an article entitled “Why are white women signing up for workshops that tell them they suck?” Our senior contributor Libby Emmons explored the phenomenon of white women self-flagellating over issues of race. The story was widely shared and written about workshops that affluent white women partake in to better learn about their own unconscious bias.
Emmons is a white woman, and by the rules of identity politics, a person of a given group is allowed to tell hard truths about that group, even if they’re not always easy to digest. Unless the rules of identity politics don’t apply to white women. Which was, in part, the point of the article.
Hate speech is a serious charge, one that we don’t take lightly. Bashing a group based on their race, sexual orientation, or ethnicity is not an acceptable means of discourse. But that’s not what this article does. Instead, the article points out that a person’s race does not determine their perspective or their worth. The article advocates against racial stereotypes and assumptions based on background.
Additionally, the article lists several articles that call out white people for being racist, based entirely on the colour of their skin. None of these articles were flagged for removal by Facebook. These pieces that specifically target white women for their complicity in racism were featured in The Washington Post, Salon, Jezebel, The Guardian, Harper’s Bazaar, AlterNet, and other sites, and some of them were written by writers of colour. Why were these articles acceptable but Emmons’ wasn’t?
This is what identity politics does to people. Some algorithm or some staffer at Facebook saw “white women” and “suck” and came to the wrong conclusion about our content. It was a provocative headline, but the meaning of the piece is that no one should be made to believe that they are lesser because of the colour of their skin.
This is our first “strike” and of course we are appealing. These allegations are simply unfounded. Social media platforms are an essential part of information dissemination, and those who patrol the feeds know this. When they flag items for content violation, much of what they are doing is interpreting user complaints. But social media users who complain about content are not neutral, objective observers. In fact, most of them have larger axes to grind that we do, and they take the job of deplatforming as a means to remove views that they disagree with very seriously.
Facebook should reverse their ridiculous decision. Our post and our article were not in any way hateful and did not violate any community standards. Exploring cultural phenomena is not “hate speech.” If Facebook doesn’t come to its senses, then it’s just a propaganda machine for identity politics apologists. It’s pretty clear that Mark Zuckerberg is actively trying to avoid this by hearing views from across the political spectrum, and refusing to police free speech. Perhaps his staff should try to limit their own bias by being more tolerant of a wide range of perspectives.
As images and videos depicting President Trump and his political rivals in Congress come under increasing scrutiny by the likes of BuzzFeed and CNN, Twitter has announced its latest effort: cracking down on “manipulated photos or videos that can cause people harm.” In other words, the platform will be tackling political memes it determines to be harmful.
Do memes poking fun at Joe Biden’s bleeding eyes, his confused demeanour, and concerning predilection towards non-consensual touching constitute as harm—particularly if they only affect his reputation as a serious Democratic candidate for President? Perhaps so. To limit this so-called “harm,” Twitter revealed today that it is introducing a new rule and a label to address and “give people more context” around tweets the platform determines requires a closer look.
According to Twitter, which released a video on the matter, altered videos will be labelled as “manipulated media.” Users are encouraged to tap the label, which will be present beneath an edited video or image, “to view info from reputable sources.” One can assume that Fox News, the Daily Caller and other conservative and independent outlets will not be given the privilege of being “reputable,” which is code for the progressive media. As an example, the platform shows how users will be given an “inside look” at how the video has been altered with details on the nature of the edits.
It brings to mind CNN’s investigation into a meme produced by a Reddit user that depicted CNN as Vince McMahon being beaten down by President Trump in a wrestling match. The video, which was shared by the President himself, prompted the cable news organization to dig into the user’s private identity—and even threatened to expose him unless he apologized for producing the meme. As the New York Times reported, “CNN declined to name the user, but said, somewhat mysteriously, that it ‘reserves the right’ to publish his identity in the future if he continued to create offensive content.”
The video was very much in line with the content regularly produced by pro-Trump Twitter users like Carpe Donktum, who BuzzFeed News referred to as “Trump’s favourite meme maker.” For no other discernible reason than to silence him, the news organization doxed the meme maker for his efforts—to no avail. He continues to produce viral videos and has since launched Meme World, a conglomerate of political meme producers.
On a less meme-related note, a video uploaded by Paul Joseph Watson that depicted CNN’s Jim Acosta during his sensationalized physical altercation (if you want to call it that) with a White House staffer became the subject of national conversation after it was shared by the White House’s Sarah Sanders. Members of the press accused Watson of altering the video, speeding it up and adding several frames, per the Wall Street Journal. Given that the video itself was ripped from a livestream and re-encoded for Twitter, it remains to be determined if any of the supposed alterations were deliberate. Whatever the case, it was blown out of proportion.
Twitter claims that this new feature is part of an effort to make the platform “a safer place for conversations.” Well, given their Pravda-like approach to the issue, Twitter will most certainly be less safe for memes and those who make them.
Reading through The Guardian’s account of a $2,500 anti-racism dinner for liberal white women shows just how easy it is to convince a bunch of people that their skin colour makes them a root cause of societal evil. The white women who partake of these overpriced, highly critical dinner parties show up so that Regina Jackson and Saira Rao can reveal the truth of their flaws. It turns out that white women are the worst, and even though these liberal women didn’t vote for Trump, they may as well have given how little they’ve done to tear down systemic racism. These white women know they suck, and that their whiteness is to blame.
Jackson and Rao with their Race2Dinner aren’t the only women of colour ripping the scales from white women’s eyes, but they are the latest. There’s Layla Saad, who launched the 28-day #MeAndWhiteSupremacy challenge. Rachel Cargyle created a lecture called “Unpacking White Feminism,” which is usually sold out. As far back as 2015 articles started appearing all over social media talking about how white people should sit down with their whiteness and discover their own unconscious racism, showing all the ways in which their skin colour made them complicit in generations of oppression of black and brown bodies.
These were articles like: “Dear White Mom,” “The Intellectual Condescension of White Liberals,” “Across America, whites are biased and they don’t even know it,” “Listen when I talk to you!”: How white entitlement marred my trip to a Ferguson teach-in,” “I Don’t Know What to Do With Good White People,” “Black people are not here to teach you: What so many white Americans just can’t grasp,” “Why White People Freak Out When They’re Called Out About Race,” “How white women use strategic tears to silence women of colour,” “When Feminism is White Supremacy in Heels,” and countless others.
Writers instructed white women on how their feminism was wrong to leave out their black and brown sisters in the Civil Rights movement. Before that, the Suffragettes were unforgivably unaware of intersectionality. White women were wrong to marry white men, assimilate to the heteronormative white patriarchy, and raise little perpetrators of racism. They were also wrong to marry men of colour, thinking that absolved them of their racism, or meant they were equipped to raise biracial babies even though they couldn’t personally understand that experience. White women pursued their education wrong, sucking up too many humanities courses without engaging enough in critical race theory, and it turns out that there are far too many white women in the publishing industry.
Purveyors of this kind of rhetoric instructed white women as to how they can better measure up to other people’s expectations for them. White liberal women read endless sermons as to how they are negatively perceived by others and what they can do to fix that, how they can get people to like them better. White women are getting used to always being wrong. With clutched pearls and wrung hands, white women really want to do better.
This whole time, they really have been trying, they’ve been reading the articles, and will readily admit that they fail and continue to fail. That’s why they’re willing to fork over $2,500 so that women of colour can confront them about the racism they know they have in their hearts somewhere but can’t seem to identify or pluck out.
White liberal women don’t feel good about themselves unless they know just how awful they are. The true beginning of this was Hillary Clinton’s loss of the 2016 election. When Clinton lost, white women took that as a personal referendum against themselves. They’ve spent the past three-plus years trying to figure out just what they did to make everyone hate them so much, and how to get everyone to like them again. White women got super cute when attending the first Women’s March in 2017, wearing pink knit hats with cat ears. They were called “pussy hats,” and the ladies on the buses giggled at the double entendre. But even their hats were wrong because as we know, not all pussies are pink, and not all cats meow. These hats were simply another example of the exclusionary nature of white feminism.
To top it all off, white women were aghast to find that 53% of them voted for Trump, and they’ve been trying to make reparations for that ever since. Liberal white women really want to get it right, and they’ll do just about anything to make it okay. That includes subjecting themselves to these totalitarian thought control experiments that first tell them they are thinking wrong things, even though they are unaware they are thinking them, and then seek to repair their thought process with alternative language wherein they can realize just how awful they truly are.
These white women penitents, these hangers-on of power, are believed by Jackson and Rao to be an untapped resource in the anti-racist resistance. Also, with the massive guilt and self-hatred they harbour, they’re kind of an easy mark.
We must identify this as what it is: a form of indoctrination no different from those that came before it. This is the isolating of a subset of the population and getting them to admit their race-based faults, then re-educating them as to how to live up to these new expectations. It’s not okay to do this to women or men of any race. There are not collective attributes associated with skin colour that make any one group more or less prone to tribal bigotry. We used to know that judging a person’s heart by their skin colour was absolutely anathema to progress, now women of all races believe it’s the only way forward. They’re wrong.