Kevin Hart, Megyn Kelly, Joe Rogan, Kanye West and other celebrities have all faced cancel culture — a merciless, social media backlash targeting their comments and beliefs, which seeks to remove them from society.
But this social firing squad isn’t just for the elite. In fact, most cancel culture victims are young, voiceless, financially vulnerable or don’t have a major platform on which to defend themselves.
Last year, I became one of those victims.
In the summer of 2020, when defunding the police became a popular refrain and white supremacy was considered the greatest threat to the West, I wrote an essay sharing my experiences with racism growing up as a young Sikh boy in a majority-white area in British Columbia, Canada. However, I also argued that making broad racial generalizations and stripping minorities of human agency and self-determination does not lead to racial progress — it does the precise opposite.
Soon after my piece, called “The Fallacy of White Privilege,” appeared in this newspaper in November 2020, it went viral, leading to an interview with The Hill’s Saagar Enjeti on his show Rising and later an appearance on The Adam Carolla Show.
I was surprised and happy about reaching such a huge audience — until I realized I had violated the current culture of political correctness.
On social media, I lost friends, former classmates, colleagues, sports teammates and social connections. I noticed as my private, relatively tight-knit Instagram following declined from 500 to 350 followers.
One of my best friends since seventh grade blocked me on Instagram for views he considered critical of the Black Lives Matter movement. I have not spoken to him since, despite seeing him at a recent social gathering where he ignored me.