Opinion: We shouldn't 'cancel' people because of past mistakes

Mr Trudeau has been criticised after 'brownface' photo

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Canadian sociologist Dr Ashley Frawley says it is dangerous to judge people from mistakes they have made in the past, amid the emergence of photos of the Canadian prime minister wearing 'brownface'. These are her views and not talkRADIO’s.

This idea of cancelling people by trawling through their past and looking for missteps is really, really dangerous.

It’s fun to do it when someone is in power, but it happens to other people as well. People lose their jobs for making bad jokes.

We need to be free to say stupid things as a society; young people need to be free to make mistakes.

What kind of society are we living in, what do we really believe about rehabilitation and the possibility of rehabilitating even criminals, if no one can be rehabilitated for something they did when they were 18?

I think we need a culture that allows people to say stupid things. Not just young people but adults as well.

You need to be able to be wrong.

How can we have open conversations if everyone has to be right all the time?

The cultural conversation progresses by people being wrong, saying the wrong thing and learning, and I never understand this impetus to shut down debate about things.

How can I know if I’m right if I never argue?

But actually I think, much more dangerous than Trudeau in 'blackface' or 'brownface', is Trudeau being this slick politician.

Racism today is dangerous because it doesn’t actually operate in the way it used to, with broken windows and racial slurs on doors – yes that does happen but to a far lesser degree.

But what is much more dangerous is the racism that operates through kindness and flattery because if you look at Canada, Trudeau says all the right things, he takes all the right photo-ops but look at [his] policies.

You’ve got immigration policy in Canada that cherry picks middle class professionals while making it almost impossible for poor and desperate people to make it to Canada to get a better life.

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