Dangers of cancel culture

To the Editor,

Merriam-Webster defines the term “woke” as “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice.)”

The recent kerfuffle over the Weir High Red Rider logo was largely overblown; more was made of the issue than it perhaps originally deserved.

The school’s intent (at least, the stated intent) was never to chuck the whole Native American Red Rider motif, as many of those upset seemed to have thought, but only to stop using one particular logo that some–as many as three whole people, as I read it–found offensive. Perhaps understandably, as the logo is something of an immoderate caricature.

Hence, there were really two schools of thought, and two arguments being made, over the whole thing, without many of those actually doing the arguing ever realizing it.

Approximately 40 or 50 people showed at a rally downtown, in protest of the school’s decision.

The “offensive” logo, according to school officials, was never an “official” logo, anyway.

Well…for not being an “official” logo, it sure was on a lot of officially-sanctioned stuff — athletic uniforms and equipment, band instruments and equipment, coaches’ shirts, student notebooks produced by the school, Weirton Police cruisers … the list of uses was quite extensive, really…which makes it look as though the school was punking-out. Spinelessly knuckling-under to a couple of “woke” malcontents who complained about the logo, and using its supposed “unofficial” status as an excuse.

From what I saw on the news and have read and been told, of the representatives of the Weirton area Native American community who showed to the rally in opposition to the logo, all seem to have had the same last name. So, there’s that. But at least they showed, and had their say.

Is it a purposefully “racist” image, as some seem to prefer to think? No, of course not. If the intent of using the logo had ever been to in any way insult or belittle Native Americans, then its use as a “school spirit” image would’ve been pointless. The reason for having such images at all, is to drum up spirit and motivation and pride. Knowingly using a goofy, insulting caricature is no way to do that.

Mike Keffer, the chief agitator and pebble in the shoe of Weir High, here, is to be commended for taking this stand, even if the issue was somewhat generally misunderstood, and blown out of proportion. His concern over cancel culture is well-founded.

Cancel culture is a dangerous tenet. A purer outgrowth of politically correct social and cultural censorship which began in the 1980s, it is entirely subjective to the individual’s opinion, and therein lies its danger. It can undermine and destroy institutions, lives and livelihoods, based simply upon the views of a handful of people. Or even of one person.

Billion-dollar corporations will knuckle-under to the most ridiculous of complaints. You can look them up.

Weir High punked out. A stand was taken. Well done.

Rob Denham



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