• Dave McGuire

MCHS: An Absurd Cancel Culture Attempt

The Clarksvillian

There seems to be a common characteristic trait among people focused on finding the importance of identifying “cancel culture” targets? They’re spending entirely too much time with their heads buried in social media.

The Montgomery Central Indians have become a recent target for the offended crowd carrying the “cancel culture” flag. Does MCHS need to change their mascot name? It’s remarkably simple – no. With people quickly jumping to conclusions, and even quicker to air their grievances on social media, the idea of cancel culturehas blown completely out of proportion.

Historically, Montgomery Central has used the “Indians” nickname with a variety of logos. It is those logos that have recently come under curiously limited criticism as being offensive. The criticism is limited in volume, but that is how the cancel culture works with regards to the bully pulpit of social media.

In terms of MCHS, their mascot has been a sense of pride for local alumni, faculty, businesses, and community for decades. The Indians mascot has never been anything less than a local acknowledgement to the honorable past tribes of our extended area – Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creeks, Delaware, and Shawnee.

Take a short drive along the Cumberland River from downtown Clarksville to Montgomery Central’s campus. That river has been known as both the Wasioto River and Shawnee River

while serving as an incredibly important asset to tribal families of the past. Our state name is a phonetic pronunciation of the word Native Americans used for this region, Tanasi”. Is anyone else following the irony of our national educational system not properly preparing students for cause root analysis or critical thought?

It wasn’t always a harmonious relationship in the Clarksville area between settlers and tribes. One of the most, if not the most, important historical aspects to the Native American experience involved Montgomery County - The Trail of Tears touched our area in Port Royal. The reoccurring battles between local settlers and Native Americans, with both being instigators at different times, has been heavily documented into our history. In the end, we all learned to live together and blended families into one community.

It's fair to say the politics of #cancelculture takes abroken windows theoryapproach to managing itself.

"Broken windows is a theory used in criminology with a goal of reducing major crime. The crimes would be reduced through heavily prosecuting of minor infractions such as vandalism or loitering. The theory has been a standard process of urban policing since the 1980s. The researchers who first presented this theory broke it down this way: “If a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken.”

That’s a perfect summation of cancel culture, isn’t it? If someone makes a comment, and it’s taken as mildly offensive and not swiftly punished, the entirety of that person’s environment and associations becomes offensive.

Harper’s Magazine recently published an open letter calling for an end to cancel culture. They have defined the movement as “censorious” and “an intolerance of opposing views, simply a venue for public shaming and ostracism with tendencies to dissolve complex political issues in a blinding moral certainty.”

For better or worse, I do not believe the stopping point of the cancel culture is on the immediate horizon. Is it an unreasonable demand for teams and/or universities to begin directing annual donations to wildlife habitats for using animals as mascots? Do not dismiss the ridiculousness of that question just yet.

The water cooler discussions tend to always surround the intentions and consequences of cancel culture. Those consequences aren’t always landing on the expected long term targets as explained by Dr Becky Spelman, psychologist at the Private Therapy Clinic, "Cancel culture is also bad for the people doing the cancelling. It encourages them to completely remove from their social environment all opinions that might diverge from their own and limits them to an echo chamber of their own creation in which they are never challenged or given the opportunity to grow.’"