You’re Only Fooling Yourself

Beverly Yirenkyi, Staff Writer

Christopher Columbus Day is one of the rudest and illegitimate holidays that has ever been established.
Think about it. You cannot discover something that was already there; you cannot find something that was never lost; you cannot begin the destruction of a group and be praised for it. It simply doesn’t make sense.
The Columbus narrative is just the first of many examples of how we allow those in power, those with money, those with numbers or followers, to justify their actions with ignorance. The “I didn’t know” or “I didn’t realize” excuse has to stop being a socially accepted reason for offensive, racist, and abusive behavior.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau was shown by the media to have donned black face on multiple occasions; Matt Lauer, the once beloved NBC Today Show host, has faced numerous rape and sexual assault allegations in the past few years; and Lori Loughlin, better known as Aunt Becky from the 90’s sitcom Full House, was implicated in the college admission scandal earlier this year.
When each of them was forced to respond to the public for their actions, their attempts at true remorse were less than stellar. Trudeau apologized and expressed remorse for his actions. Lauer, who first faced allegations in 2017, has consistently denied any wrongdoing. Loughlin pleaded not guilty in November to charges of bribery and conspiracy but has not commented publicly during the scandal.
So what punishment did these people actually face? Nothing when you really think about it.
Despite his past racist actions, Trudeau was re-elected in 2019, Lauer has been off television and living in a sort of exile albeit with a bank account in the millions, and Loughlin, who paid over $500,000 to get her daughters into USC, may face some financial penalties and minor jail time, but it pales in comparison to what she and her designer husband have.
Yes, each has suffered some embarrassment and, perhaps, personal loss, but they still enjoy some form of fame, money, and popularity.
Why these three – and many others – are able to escape severe punishment for their actions, both legal and social, is because of the favor that the public provides to those who enjoy fame, wealth, or other positions of power. These social untouchables are one of the prime reasons why Cancel Culture exists. Cancel Culture is a term created through social media that promises to be a regulatory policing system that publicly denounces a public figure who isn’t being held accountable for their actions quickly enough. However, the public, due to diverging opinions, cannot unify consistently enough for it to actually work.
Societally we need to stop validating others’ actions because they make false claims of ignorance. It is time to hold them accountable and tell them “look, you are this big age, so it is time to stop claiming ignorance.” One can’t justify painting their face black for a costume, for an event, or for any reason. As an adult you should know the mockery that those of a darker pigmentation have faced throughout our history. You can’t grope and attack people because you are a “celebrity” and then claim innocence, and you can’t buy your children’s education and feel that saying “sorry” or “I know it was wrong” is enough. People can’t continuously abuse their power, take advantage of their elite status, and force the idea of a self-serving apology, for that’s exactly what it is: self-serving.
As a public, people need to stand up together and stop supporting and tolerating the molesters, cultural appropriators, and scammers of the upper class. Together, people can advocate for a better system that holds the elites accountable for their actions.