Episode 84 - The Cancel Culture with ContraPoints and Loretta Ross - 🇬🇧

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Cet épisode de La Poudre est disponible à l’écoute dans une version doublée en français. Cliquez ici pour l’écouter : 🇫🇷

The legendary activist for reproductive justice, black feminism and antiracism Loretta Ross and the genious youtuber Natalie Wynn creator of the channel ContraPoints are the guests of the 84th episode of La Poudre, recorded in public the 21st of November 2020. With Lauren Bastide, they talked about calling in, calling out and self-care.

Lauren’s foreword:

This episode was recorded on Zoom thanks to Les Créatives festival in November 2020 and I’m very proud to be able to share it with you today. It was an incredible pleasure and honour to be able to talk to these two major activists. And also, it felt good to take an hour to explore this complex and fascinating online phenomenon we sometimes call “cancel culture”.

Episode summary:

At the Les Créatives festival, the activists Loretta Ross and Natalie Wynn dissect the complex phenomenon of what we call “cancel culture” with Lauren Bastide. If the mechanisms of public humiliation is much older than Internet and social networks, for the black feminism and antiracism activist Loretta Ross, the latter increases and accelerates this phenomenon (05:24). For Natalie Wynn, creator of the YouTube channel ContraPoints and its long, beautifully put together and referenced videos, we should be careful in differentiating the various forms taken by “cancel culture” (06:58), between challenging people in positions of power, whose careers are seldom truly affected (09:32) and what she calls “horizontal cancel culture” among disagreeing activists (11:42). Both of them warn against essentialising people and their positions, a process encouraged by how social networks and the eternal present of the Internet work (15:07). In her classes as well as in her activist work, Loretta Ross advises to “call-in” rather than “call-out” (22:44), which means try and explain with compassion first, rather than publicly confronting each other from the get go. It is also a question of strategy according to Natalie Wynn: nobody would be willing to listen when feeling directly attacked (24:40). As it is a real emotional labour, they both remind that “calling-in” and investing in someone else’s growth should always be a choice, not an obligation and that it is always a possibility to just ignore the conflict (26:37). They acknowledge it is not always easy and they both have had instances where they went along with the crowd and forgot there were other human beings behind the screens (34:37). But the consequences can sometimes be terrible for the targeted activists, especially when their only community is the one they have online, which is often the case in activist spheres, especially LGBT+ ones (40:34). They urge to recognise the diversity of opinions in activist movements for human rights rather than striving for an unattainable and undesirable political purity (47:22).

Our deepest gratitude to the Les Créatives festival and their amazing team who made this episode happen.

Executive Producer : Nouvelles Écoutes

Production, editing and signature tune : Aurore Meyer-Mahieu

Production assistant : Gaïa Marty

Mixing : Marion Emerit

144 episodes