According to Washington Post “race and identity” writer Clyde McGrady, the concept of cancel culture, which has lately been used mostly by conservative commentators, is a clear example of white cultural appropriation – implying that the idea was invented by a black person and adopted by white people.
He framed his argument by recounting a “bad date” anecdote he heard from legendary musician and Chic co-founder Nile Rodgers.
As Rodgers put it, while on a date “in 1980 or so,” the woman he was with “asked the maitre d’ to remove people from a table so they could sit there instead, Rodgers bristled,” as McGrady reported.
“No, no, no, I don’t do that,” Rodgers recalled telling her. “I don’t play that card.”
“Some time later,” Rodgers was looking back on the episode and came up with a song: “Your Love Is Cancelled,” from Chic’s 1981 album, “Take It Off.”
McGrady argues that this is the origin of the concept of canceling someone “for unacceptable behavior, like a network executive pulling the plug on an unsuccessful TV show.”
“Recently it turned up in Central Florida, in the mouth of a 57-year-old White Republican from Ohio,” McGrady wrote, referring to Republican Ohio congressman, Rep. Jim Jordan.
“All right, who’s next?” Jordan said during a recent conference. “Who’s the cancel culture going to attack next?”
“You see last week they tried to cancel Kermit the Frog and Mr. Potato Head? They backed off Mr. Potato Head. I think he told them his preferred pronouns are he/him/his, right?” the congressman said.
McGrady further argued the notion of “canceling” someone or something has its roots in “Black slang” language, as does the term “woke.”
“‘Cancel” and ‘woke’ are the latest terms to originate in Black culture only to be appropriated into the White mainstream and subsequently thrashed to death. Young Black people have used these words for years as sincere calls to consciousness and action, and sometimes as a way to get some jokes off. That White people would lift those terms for their own purposes was predictable, if not inevitable. The commodification of Black slang is practically an American tradition. ‘One of the biggest exports of American culture,’ said Renée Blake, a linguistics professor at New York University, ‘is African American language,’” he wrote.
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Author: Damjan Tutarkov
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