Oh cool, now we can talk about a problem that's actually real.
Thank you, oh enlightened one, for being here to tell us what's real and what isn't.
But then I noticed the cis talking about it, and what I noticed was that there was no debate. The cis had simply absorbed the message by osmosis that Natalie was bad and that they needed to disavow her. The nuance, the differences of opinion and the general spirit of acceptance that I saw in most of the trans and non-binary community was completely absent in the cis discourse (ciscourse?).
And the reason was very obvious. The cis people, all of whom were nice and well meaning and who were trying to be trans allies, had not realised that there could be more than one trans or non-binary perspective. They wanted to be the person listening to trans and non-binary voices, but they had not realised that trans and non-binary voices didn't always agree with each other. It's not surprising, these were often people who I knew at best tangentially, they probably didn't have any close trans or non-binary friends. They weren't listening to the debates in the affected communities, they were listening to other cis people, and basing their opinions on what the "trans voices" were saying on information provided by other cis people.
This feels like it almost belongs in another topic, but I actually agree with the point you're making. There's a strain of thought, particuarly on the left, which thinks "if you're X, you must think Y," or in this case, people getting offended on behalf of other people. It's the type of nonsense that Biden's "if you don't vote for me, you ain't Black" comment represents in all its ugly, identitarian glory.
Lindsey Ellis, whose recent dogpiling probably had a lot to do with her refusal to publicly disavow Natalie Wynn, noticed a very similar thing, and I'd recommend watching her video on it because it's hard but it's incredibly revealing. The overwhelming, overwhelming majority of the hate she received wasn't coming from east Asians concerned about cinematic orientalism, it was coming from white people. White people who would repeat the refrain over and over about listening to POC voices, as if all the POC voices in the world agreed with them. Some of the people involved who seemed to actually be POC actually turned out to be white people.
I have watched her video. It's a video that's far longer than it needs to be IMO, but yes, I watched it - it's a further affirmation of why cancel culture is terrible, because it empowers little shits on the Internet (among other things) to ruin people's lives. Also an affirmation as to why being more offended than the group you're claiming is offended isn't something you should do.
But, another thing I agree with Lindsey Ellis on is that this isn't cancel culture.
Yeah, see a few posts down.
Cancel culture is this mythical conservative boogeyman because the reality is, this doesn't happen to conservatives.
That's patently absurd - lots of conservatives have been deplatformed or cancelled in some form or another. Gina Carano, Katie Hopkins, Steve Bannon, Milo Yianapolis, Stefan Molyneux, Alex Jones, etc.
We can debate about whether they deserve to be platformed or not (all of those listed above are terrible people apart from Carano), but the idea that conservatives aren't cancelled and only people on the left are is a claim that just doesn't hold up. Conservative speakers are heckled on campus far more than left-leaning ones.
Instead of cancel culture, Lindsey Ellis calls it the beast, and I think that's the best metaphor I've ever heard. In Lord of the Flies, the children trapped on an island start to imagine a monster they call the beast. They see it everywhere. They hold elaborate hunts for it. They end up killing each other because they start to see each other as the beast (spoilers for Lord of the Flies by the way). What the children can't see is that the beast was actually a part of them all along.
So it's not cancel culture but "the beast." Because semantics.
We can call it what we want, but it's two terms to describe the same phenomena. And yes, I do recall her term "the beast" from the video, and yes, I have read Lord of the Flies - I don't know if it's really the metaphor I'd use, because if there's a single main theme of LotF, I'd say that it's "savagery is the true nature of Man" or "without an ordered society, people will collapse into chaos." Moral puritans, cancellers, call them whatever - the people who try to be offended in others' behalf (among other things) aren't living in the collapse of civilization, they live in an ordered society, even if that society has its share of insanity, especially over the last half decade.
At the end of the day, people tried to drive Ellis into ruin because, either through idiocy or as disingenuous a reading as possible, she conflated Raya and the Last Dragon with Last Airbender. It's the same idiocy that came for Zhao as well.
People in positions of privilege often have this manichaeistic view of bigoty or prejudice, that either you are a bigot or you're not. You're either an evil racist or you're completely blameless. You're either a transphobe or you're a trans ally.
I disagree that it's people in positions of privilege. The type of binary you're describing tends to come from bottom up rather than top down. Yes, every so often you get Ibram X. Kendi dividing everyone and everything between racist and anti-racist, but the sentiments usually come from people on the ground, so to speak. I've used Biden as a top-down, but I've read about how in the US in the 1970s, activisits would yell (paraphrased) "if you're Black/Latino and haven't come to speak with a Black/Latino voice, don't bother showing up." The people saying this being Black/Latino themselves, because God forbid that people have beliefs and opinions that aren't dictated by inherent traits.
...anyone else want a reminder why identity politics is terrible?
As the song goes, everyone is a little bit racist, because we all grew up in a racist society.
Um, yeah, but it's also a song that sattarizes political correctness, among other things, and not something that would ever make it to the stage today. The song's in contrast to the point you're making below, at least in its 'perscription.'
Not being bigoted is something you have to work at every day of your life, and even then you will never completely succeed. But that's not satisfying, that can't provide what a lot of people need, which is a definitive knowledge that they are 100% not bigoted, so these people imagine a beast. They take the monster inside themselves and project it onto someone else (someone who isn't going to be able to fight back, typically someone who is themselves marginalized) so that they can convince themselves that they're on the right side, and that they're not a racist or a transphobe or a bigot because they're opposing someone who is.
Tl;dr: It's not cancel culture, it's performative allyship.
No, not really.
There's a term for performative allyship - virtue signalling. We're all guilty of it. I'm guilty of it. How annoying virtue signalling is will depend on who's doing it, and what the circumstances are, but virtue signalling doesn't have to be cancel culture.
Let's go back to Ellis. Let's say someone, genuinely (somehow) was offended by her tweet. Virtue signalling would be something like writing a blog post, saying "Unlike Lindsay Ellis, I'm not a sinophobe who conflates all Asian culture into a single fantasy genre, I'M a good person who has plenty of Asian friends and who's read books by Asian authors and I'm oh so virtuous, and please, fund me on Patreon." It crosses over into cancel culture when you start trying to attack someone directly - to have them fired, to have them deplatformed, to do any number of shitty things that people do out of some moral crusade.
And I'll be clear, as I said earlier, Ellis didn't need to make the video she did, and frankly, she got off easier than a lot of other people who've been abused on social media (Kelly Marie Tran comes to mind). But the whole thing still stinks, because the whole debacle is a case of either moral puritanism, online sadism, or an utter lack of reading comprehension. Call it "cancel culture," call it "the beast," call it what you want, it's terrible, and it's even worse when people do terrible things because they genuinely believe they're doing good.