When a person says something ignorant or bigoted, our immediate instinct is to punish them. However, thanks to a powerful cancel culture, forgiveness has become a thing of the past.
When Kevin Hart appeared on Ellen DeGeneres' show, she displayed admirable forgiveness. Several past jokes of Hart's had resurfaced following the news he would be hosting the Oscars. Many perceived them to be homophobic. After declining to apologize, he stepped down as host, then apologized anyway. DeGeneres discussed her desire to have Hart host the Academy Awards after all. Her good intentions were misjudged by some and she received an unfair backlash.
I, personally, understand where DeGeneres is coming from. I remember watching Eddie Murphy's "Delirious" comedy special in high school. I was about 15 years old and openly gay. The first part of his stand up had some pretty harsh jokes about homosexuality and AIDS. The AIDS joke in particular showed the ignorance of the time. In 1983, people weren't as educated on the subject as they are now. Murphy apologized for the ignorant nature of his routine years later. He showed evolution and people forgave him.
Cut to the current year and the atmosphere is quite different. A lot of people don't want Kevin Hart to host the Oscars, be forgiven, or have any success in the future. When Roseanne Barr got fired last year for tweeting a joke many viewed as racist, her sitcom wasn't just cancelled. All reruns of her show were also pulled from several networks and streaming services.
It's no longer enough to hold people accountable for saying questionable things. Now their entire livelihood must be destroyed and they can never work in this town again. There's no chance for redemption or second chances. Their career must be over for good.
Why has the concept of evolving as a human being become so foreign to some? I think it might have something to do with the nature of social media. We're living in an age where we expect instant gratification. We aren't forced to look at things beneath the surface level anymore. A lot of people read clickbait headlines without taking the time to read the articles. Believe it or not, that's the way a lot of people consume the news.
The quicker we can get a hold of something and absorb it, the better. I think this has a lot to do with why it's hard for so many to comprehend anything beneath surface value. When people are confronted with something that isn't just black and white, they don't know how to handle it. However, because social media has given them a sense of entitlement, they don't take the time to understand it. It's easier for them to dismiss the idea and leave a person as "cancelled."
I think with a new year should come a new attitude. Part of that attitude should involve thinking a bit deeper than the surface of things. By doing that, you will set in motion a chain of events that will lead to more understanding. The concept of forgiveness will be more commonplace. As far as I'm concerned, that's the only way to a future of unity and equality.