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The hypocrisy of Cancel Culture

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The popular science magazine Psychology Today deals with the “Cancel Culture”, ie the new trend of culturally annihilating people who have been accused of sexual assault, for example, by means of extensive boycotts and to financially ruin them:

…Of course, the impact of actions matter, and racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, and other socially and morally unacceptable behaviors will rightfully carry with them some sort of social and moral punishments. But do we really want to indefinitely judge, mob, and define a person merely by pointing to a frozen subset of their views or actions? One layer deeper, who among us should be casting these stones? Who exactly are the arbiters of what might be defined as unacceptable views and behaviors, and in what court are these deviances tried?

As a clinical psychologist, in addition to providing psychological treatment to victims of abuse, I provide treatment to people who have committed violent, sexual, and other egregious offenses. I also treat people who have hurt others—both intentionally and unintentionally—while in the throes of addictionpsychosis, and depression. Indeed, people often present to therapy with feelings of shame and guilt about their past, looking to understand themselves and looking for answers about how to change.

Imagine, as a clinical psychologist, if instead of greeting people with empathy, nonjudgmental acceptance, and curiosity about the complexity that makes them human, I were to shame them, judge them as morally inferior and irredeemable from a perspective of self-righteousness, and sought to understand them based on one snippet of their life. Clinical psychologists don’t do that, because therapy per se is predicated on the idea that cognitive and behavior change is possible and that people are more than the sum of their behaviors. Why, then, is it becoming increasingly acceptable for our culture to engage in this kind of cold, tribal, simplified thinking?…

Jonathan N. Stea Ph.D., R. Psych
Psychology Today

With thanks to the German blog Genderama.

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