I’ve cancelled my uncle, my brother, my (now former) best friend, two co-workers, one minor celebrity, my neighbour, and my ex (we’d already broken up the year before).
To many, this will seem like an impressive list, and at times I’ve been tempted to think so myself: to buy into my own hype, so to speak. Yet when I look deep inside myself I know I haven’t done anywhere near enough.
People! We’re living in an unjust society. Open the curtains, wind down your car windows, open your eyes – there are oppressors everywhere. And I don’t mean just the obvious kind: the foaming at the mouth Nazi Trump supporters. I mean anyone who wakes up in the morning and the first thing they think about isn’t how they can end oppression or fight for social justice, but whether they’re going to have toast or eggs for breakfast (for my vegan readers please substitute eggs with your favourite breakfast snack).
It’s mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, your boss, your teachers, your dentist, your yoga instructor, your favourite singer. There are millions of these undercover oppressors, and they enable oppression by NOT opposing it.
This must change, and it’s our job as activists, i.e. the moral beacons of society, to do it. If we unite and work as one we have the best chance of cancelling anyone with the wrong or no opinion, and of making the world a better, fairer, and more tolerant place.
What follows then are 9 highly effective tactics we can deploy to help us in our mission.
1- Synchronised Media
I have to pinch myself every day when I think about the chaos that is our news media, including tv, print, radio, and online. The idea that any outlet can produce, publish, and promote any opinion, viewpoint, or story they want is a slap in the face of Truth and Justice™.
If we as social justice activists are right (as we know we are), then there cannot be one thousand other valid truths or points of view out there. There can be only one. So why air them all? It’s not just a waste of time, but also confusing to people to hear so many different invalid perspectives.
Now I’m not saying we should ban media or consolidate it into one. Outlets should be free to express themselves in any way they want because our differences are our strength and give rise to progress. But it’s differences of style, not of perspective, that count. There is only one right perspective after all, so it’s important that all media adopt and promote it uniformly. They should all be saying the same thing, but in their own unique way.
For example, they might all report on the oppression of trans athletes in female sports, but some might choose to do it with a formal style (New York Times), others with an informal style (The View), and others with a comedic style (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver). But what would never be questioned or challenged is that a) this oppression is incredibly evil, and b) that it’s a national emergency and must be fixed at any cost.
So it’s about having media that is synchronised: where the message, perspective, and agenda are identical for all – but the style of delivery is in their hands! Diversity at its best.
2- Search & Social Media Autocorrect
Search engines and social media have given people access to the world’s information and allowed them to connect and share with others like never before.
In the past, for example, if you wanted to learn more about the Native American genderqueer movement, you’d need to search high and low in a university library. Even then you’d only find something if you were lucky. But with Google, you now have access to this essential information instantly wherever you are. Now that’s a win!
But unfortunately, it’s also meant that wrong, bad, and fake information has become more accessible and widespread than ever. And whether that information comes from a website you follow or your cousin’s latest Facebook post, it’s a problem.
What’s the solution? Autocorrect. We already use it on our phones, so we can repurpose it for a noble cause: autocorrecting wrong or offensive searches and posts.
Basically, if someone searches for something false or offensive like: “Is obesity unhealthy?” then autocorrect will kick in and change it to a more correct version, for example, “How big and beautiful people are challenging stereotypes about what is healthy.”
And in the same way, if someone tried to write a negative Facebook post or to upload an offensive captioned photo, it would autocorrect it before posting it.
And so, search by search and post by post, we would build a more inclusive world.
3- Family & Friend Whistleblower Agency
They say blood is thicker than water, but it shouldn’t be if that blood is enabling – either thorough action or inaction – social, economic, and racial injustice.
And whilst it sounds like breaching a taboo, a key place to fight for justice is at home: oppressors and their enablers have homes and families after all. Moreover, the idea that people should have immunity for their beliefs or actions at home or amongst their friends is wrong, and it misses a big opportunity to make a difference.
This is where local or national government can step in by introducing whistleblower hotlines, where any family member, friend, or acquaintance can report a person they know for saying or doing something offensive in private.
It would be a double standard after all to take action against someone when they’ve said something offensive in public, for example on Twitter, but not to do so when they do it in private. The act is just as abominable regardless of the setting and the person deserves repercussions.
As for why someone would report their family member or friend, firstly we hope that with an easy and convenient reporting process they’d do it because they believe in doing what’s right. We could however also make it a crime not to report it, i.e. it would make them an accomplice. In this way, we would be assured of high compliance, and in time help to heal the division in our society.
4- Bad Employee Of The Month
Many businesses have an Employee Of The Month Award or similar schemes to recognise the efforts of great employees. These are wonderful – particularly when minorities, who are disadvantaged by default, receive the awards.
However, we learn just as much from bad examples as good examples, and it’s the former that is missing here. Think about laws: they tell you what not to do. Or think about the relative who, through making all the wrong choices, taught you what not to do (lest you end like them). In a similar way, we can leverage the power of the negative for a positive cause.
So let me introduce you to the ‘Bad Employee Of The Month’ awards. The criteria for selection is saying or doing anything that offends anyone, whether colleague, supplier, customer, or even passerby.
For example, let’s say Frank works for a publisher, and his colleague Mindy pitches him an idea for a children’s book about a black gender-fluid socialist poet. If Frank isn’t as enthusiastic and supportive about it as he should be, and Mindy is offended as a result, then she would nominate him for Bad Employee Of The Month.
At the public award ceremony, he would receive his award and stand in silence as Mindy shares how his apathy for her proposal made her feel. This would be followed by a public reprimand from management and a docking of pay.
In this way, employees would see clear examples of what not to do and have confidence and pride in knowing that intolerance will not be tolerated in their company. This will help to create an environment where the best ideas can flourish without judgement or criticism.
5-Voice Assistant Prompts
We use voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google to give us the weather forecast, play us a song, or share a joke. The devices on which these voice assistants sit are always close by: in our pockets or hands, on our wrists, in our living rooms, or else we’re staring at them all day for work.
So what if we took advantage of this and used it to provide people with ongoing prompts to help them lead more socially conscientious lives?
For example, let’s say you were to walk into a convenience store, it could alert you by saying: “This store is owned by an ethnic minority. Spend a little more money than usual to show your support for their plight.”
Or if you were walking past Buckingham Palace, it could impart some facts on the horrible impact of British colonialism on native peoples.
What’s more, this could be an automatic, always-on feature – which would use a mix of listening in and GPS to provide people with helpful prompts.
It’d be like having your very own sociology professor right there by you 24/7. Amazing! And of course who wouldn’t feel more relaxed and at ease knowing they’ve got this moral guidance at all times – whether day or night.
6- Book Approval Panels
Books have the power to change people’s lives. Think about the classics by Noam Chomsky, Karl Marx, and Michael Moore. I still remember the first time I read Moore’s ‘Stupid White Men.’ It opened my eyes to how stupid almost every white man I’ve ever known really is (excluding Noam, Karl, Michael, and myself of course).
Moreover, if you ask me, which you’d be right to do, it’s about time we stopped reading the one-dimensional views of white male scientists, historians, philosophers, businessmen, athletes, entertainers, reporters, military vets, investors, politicians, comedians, chefs, spiritual leaders, and the list goes on.
We need to allow more diverse authors and books to flourish because the hard truth is that bookstore shelves and Amazon search results are oppressive. Think about it, how many times have you seen a book by a Sudanese female author in the astronomy section of your local bookstore. It just doesn’t happen. Instead, you see dozens or even hundreds of books by, you guessed it, white males.
So, enter book approval panels: carefully selected groups of diverse, tolerant, and impartial individuals who will be tasked with approving any book for publication. A panel might be made up of a Vietnamese lesbian, Muslim feminist, Mexican social worker, Black transgender female, Venezuelan socialist blogger, and one gay white male for balance.
Each panel would focus on a very specific subject area, e.g. economics, health, law, etc and each would have the final say on what the public gets to read. To work efficiently they could also appoint an army of vetted volunteer readers to read new and existing books and report on their contents, or even make use of software that does the same, only faster.
The net result of this would be freedom to discover truth and facts from authors and books that really matter because they will be no longer be hidden beneath a pile of oppressive books by stupid white (straight) men (excluding Noam, Karl, Michael, and myself of course).
7- Public Confessions
There’s something special about a group of people coming together to change the world – whether through protest, boycotts, petitions, putting up posters, leafletting, roadblocks, marches, street performance, and the list goes on.
It’s called people power and it’s been instrumental in bringing down fascist regimes, overturning unjust laws, and driving social change. So let’s tap into this power for another noble endeavour: public confessions.
What is this exactly? It’s people gathering in a public space to hear the confessions of the guilty: those who have said or done something bigoted and offensive.
These confessions could take place in town or city squares, town halls, or for higher profile bigots, in stadiums. Regardless of where they take place though, their purpose would be to warn the local community of who the bigots are and to give said bigots a chance to publicly disown their actions.
I also just know that when a culprit has all the eyes of their community on them and feels their physical presence all around them – maybe of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people – it will evoke in them a natural desire for redemption and for embracing a new and better way. Such is the magic of people power.
8- Tolerance Certifications
There are so many things people take for granted today, like having a Spotify account, an Amazon Prime Same Day Delivery service, or a Netflix subscription. These are services that the disadvantaged in our society may struggle to afford, but that the many conscious and unconscious oppressors buy with ease.
But why should having the money to pay for something be the sole qualifying criteria for being able to attain it? Services like this should be earned, not just handed out in exchange for cash.
How could one earn it? Well, we could have a tiered subscription system. For the top tier, which is free, you’d earn it by being from a disadvantaged group either due to your income, race, ethnicity, or gender identity.
The middle tier would be for the privileged, e.g. those who are white or who have a white-collar job: but those with the right beliefs – who are allies and supporters of the disadvantaged. Bernie Sanders and I are good examples of this. We would pay fees, but earn a discount if we can provide evidence of a lifetime of dedication to the cause.
The bottom tier is where most people would fit. Those who oppress with or without realising it. Their fees would cover the fees of the top tier, subsidise those of the middle tier, and of course, they’d pay a premium on their own fees.
Moreover, they would be required to complete a Tolerance Certification. Attaining this certification would involve being educated on topics like social justice, institutional racism, and socialism – and passing a final examination to prove it. Revision and tests would be required every 3 months to remain eligible to say continue with your Netflix subscription.
In this way, people would feel they’ve really earned the right to the services they enjoy.
9- Brain-Machine Interface
Everything mentioned up to this point has been workarounds, due to our present technical and scientific limitations. But thanks to Elon Musk and his Neuralink technology (he’s a bottom tier Netflix subscriber in case you’re wondering) we will soon be able to get right to the source of the problem
A brain-machine interface like Neuralink involves wireless brain implants which can connect with and control external hardware and software, whether that be a computer, robot, consumer device, limb, or anything else. This is great as it will help those with neurological or physical impairments to do things with thought alone.
But what is most interesting is the potential for it to be used to read people’s minds. If we could do this, then we could identify bigotry, prejudice, and intolerance at the thought level, and there would be nowhere to hide. We would know if someone really was for social justice or if it was just lip service.
And to take it a step further, we could find a way to change the directional flow of control, from the brain controlling the computer to the computer controlling the brain. This means we could program people to be tolerant, conscientious, and open-minded.
Activists like myself would provide the example or template to emulate when programming the minds of the masses, and through this, we would finally achieve a socially just paradise on earth.
Everyone with the wrong opinion would be cancelled, but they would also be liberated from the prison of their limiting beliefs. Let’s make it a reality, people…
Written by Arcadius Strauss on behalf of The Woke Activist.
Listen to the audio version via Podcast