Eps. 2 Dearborn Blog Live Discussions – The Threat of Cancel Culture on Free Speech [Video/Podcast]

Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial. Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts. But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity. As we applaud the first development, we also raise our voices against the second.

This is the opening of a letter signed by 150 Public Figures and published by Harper’s Magazine calling to do away with cancel culture altogether, denouncing the movement as “censorious” and “an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”

Dr. Jill McCorkel, a professor of sociology and criminology at Villanova University, told The New York Post that the roots of cancel culture have been present throughout human history. Societies have punished people for behaving outside of perceived social norms for centuries.

“Cancel culture is an extension of or a contemporary evolution of a much bolder set of social processes that we can see in the form of banishment,” she said. “[They] are designed to reinforce the set of norms.” END OF QUOTE

Over the last few years, the social-media trend has gained momentum under the trendy new name — placing celebrities, companies and media alike under a microscope of political correctness.

“Twitter, Do Your Thing” is a hashtag that encourages twitter to ban certain voices for being perceived as politically incorrect by some.

Is the mass request for cancellation a solidarity move, or is it a mob public shaming?

Does it fight against Racism and other social toxic phenomenons, or is it itself a toxic attack on free speech?


The #IsOverParty is an ode to cancel culture, most recently used to cancel Jimmy Fallon after a video resurfaced of him in blackface imitating Chris Rock. While #JimmyFallonIsOverParty was quick to trend on Twitter, some users were quick to condemn his cancellation.

One user wrote in the thread:

“The culture of canceling people is ridiculous. Jimmy Fallon did this 20 years ago when he was young and had to listen to his boss in order to put food on his table,” 

Cancel culture is the phenomenon of promoting the “canceling” of people, brands and even shows and movies due to what some consider to be offensive or problematic remarks or ideologies. Over the last few years, the social-media trend has gained momentum under the trendy new name — placing celebrities, companies and media alike under a microscope of political correctness.

Does Cancel Culture pose a threat to free speech?

Join us for this live discussion on Dearborn Blog facebook and youtube channels to discuss this question with Professor Gonzalo Munevar and Dr. Adnan Jaber.

Interdisciplinary scholar, professor, and author Gonzalo Munévar has taught philosophy, history, science, literature, mathematics, and writing at the college level. His particular field of interest is the philosophy of science. A native of Colombia, he has been a visiting professor at universities throughout the world. Munévar has written and edited several books on philosophy and is the author of an award-winning novel, The Master of Fate, which is set in his native country.

Adnan Jaber completed his Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology at the University of Detroit Mercy , where he also received his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology in 2010. Adnan Completed his undergraduate degree in Psychology at Lawrence Technological University in 2007. Adnan is currently working as a clinical psychologist at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry, a contractual psychologist at Great Lakes Psychology Group, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy. Adnan completed an APA-accredited internship at the Aurora Mental Health Center in Colorado. His current research interests include moral judgment and reasoning and applying EEG Technology to various questions and theories in moral psychology. Adnan is also interested in consciousness and the mind-body problem.

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