Let’s not be so quick to cancel

The race to the bottom of cancel culture rounded the turn and headed down the backstretch two weekends ago, when a Kansas City Chief fan was accused of being a racist by  a Deadspin (sports website) writer for supposedly wearing blackface at the Chiefs’ game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Did we mention the supposed racist is 9 years old?
Yes, that’s where we are as a society. Now children who otherwise spend their time eating their boogers and wouldn’t have the slightest idea of how to be racist are being accused of bigotry by people who have nothing better to do than to sit around and scour the media for the next thing to be outraged over. Even for professional malcontents this is a new low.
The young fan, Holden Armenta, was actually supporting the Chiefs by painting half of his face red and half of it black. The TV camera that panned to him caught him turned sideways, so all that was visible was the black. Of course, that’s all the professional malcontents needed to pounce, and the meltdown was on. When it was pointed out to the Deadspin author, Carron J. Phillips, that the child also had red paint on half his face, he accused Armenta (again, 9 years old) of “doubling up on the racism” because of the supposed blackface and a headdress he was wearing, which he said was offensive to Native Americans. And yes, to many Native Americans, this is cultural appropriation, and is offensive. That’s a fair point.
The problem for Phillips, however (aside from the stupidity of accusing a 9-year-old of being a bigot) is that Armenta is Native American. His grandfather, Raul Armenta, sits on the board of the Chumash Tribe in Santa Ynez, Calif. So, not only was the quick outrage about his black face paint one-sided, but it appears the continued criticism about wearing a Native American headdress to the Chiefs game was unfounded as well. We are definitely not experts on which Native Americans should and should not wear a headdress, but to us it appears this child was merely trying to support the Chiefs and possibly even his heritage, which should be a source of pride.
This constant rush to see who can be the most offended is exhausting. It’s bad enough when we try to “cancel” someone for the most outlandish of reasons (oh no, he posted something offensive when he was 14! Get him!) but trying to smear and vilify a child who was doing nothing more than supporting his favorite team is just beyond the pale. Where does this all end? What is the goal? Does it ever end at all?
Being outraged over everything means being outraged over nothing. Those who constantly cry wolf will soon be ignored. Actual racism is a terrible thing that should be eradicated. We would argue that calling something racist that clearly isn’t is just as bad. Let’s save our outrage for things that are actually racist. A 9-year-old child supporting his team does not fit that description.
There’s also a movement to now cancel Deadspin. That, too, is wrong. Yes, it rushed to judgment and made a mistake. But canceling them is no different from canceling young Holden. How about just a “I was wrong” and we all move on. Let’s try that once, instead of always wanting to burn everything down. Not every reaction requires the most extreme of reactions. Take a breath. Move forward. We can do this.


User login