Frequently cited examples of cancel culture cover a broad range of offenses and consequences. Among the hodgepodge of endorsements lost, Substacks made, and egos bruised, is there really any evidence that cancel culture exists? Erec Smith thinks it does. He’s an Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at the York College of Pennsylvania and author of A Critique of Anti-racism in Rhetoric and Composition: The Semblance of Empowerment. He believes cancel culture does describe a cultural phenomenon, and describes what happened to him. After expressing an unpopular opinion in an email on an academic listserv in 2019, Smith was slammed, both on the listserv and on Twitter. He saw the response as not an effort to engage with his ideas, but an attempt to discredit and silence him. In this segment, Brooke Gladstone speaks with Smith about his experience and whether ‘cancel culture’ is descriptive of a true chilling effect in academia, or an over-hyped moral panic?
This is a segment from our June 4, 2021 program, Shamed and Confused.