I just found out that a Cricketer from England, Ollie Robinson, got suspended for racist remarks. What baffled me (or actually not at this point) is that the tweet was made almost 10 years ago, when he was 18.
Let me get this straight: Racist remarks are horrible and they should have no place in society. But do you what is also problematic? The way we are castigating and canceling people for their actions as kids, without even trying to evaluate if the person has evolved or not. And even worse, the way we are throwing the ones who have evolved into the same basket as the ones who are still willingly and knowingly making racist, prejudiced remarks.
Most often we fail to realize that we are all products of society, and the things we did as kids were mostly picked up from our surroundings without much thought or understanding of the world. Just as it is easy for a kid to get into bad habits like smoking and drugs, all because it’s normal or cool, it is easy for a kid to fall into that action of making unfortunate remarks.
Now, when that kid grows up and becomes aware of his mistakes, feels remorse for his actions, and has evolved, do we still cancel him? No, we should rather accept the kid. Forget human beings, living beings err. But often they improve after seeing and understanding more of the world, and this improvement is a rather natural phenomenon. So, whenever a person evolves, we should rather accept and appreciate that, and even treat that as natural.
While it is often easy to paint someone as a racist or sexist become of his remarks from the past, it is difficult to be aware that we ourselves might have made mistakes on the way. But that awareness will only come through acceptance — acceptance of the fact that we are products of societies, and that our societies have many problems and issues. Only through awareness we can work on solving the problems of societies and also become aware of our own mistakes.
This is not just about one Ollie Robinson who made his mistake at 18, but thousands of kids across the world who might have made mistakes at 15, 12, or 8. Our focus should be to create an environment where people can openly accept their mistakes and become aware of the need for improvement.
Otherwise, the cancel culture we have today will only lead to people deleting their digital footprints and hiding or defending their inner biases and prejudices, or not even being aware of that.
Even while writing this article, I was scared for a while, thinking if people will take this as if I am defending racism, or even worse tag me an inside racist. But you what, if we are even scared to voice our opinions, we won’t even reach halfway towards the acceptance step, and it is only through acceptance we become aware.