Leave your ‘cancel culture’ out of my Christmas

McKenna Peariso

As time goes by, revelations on society’s failures and injustices become more and more common. We see how different ethnic groups have been wronged for generations. We can identify harmful beliefs and ideals that silence minorities and promote poor behavior. We realize the racist, homophobic and sexist undertones that were once appropriate for daytime television and entertainment. 

I am a full supporter of calling out society’s faults in an attempt to improve the lives of everyone. But could we please stop trying to find offenses in anything and everything that’s enjoyable?

Recently, beloved Christmas classic ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ was cited to be bigoted, racist, sexist and “seriously problematic” by the Huffington Post and critics on social media across the nation. Just to recap, let’s recall that red-nosed Rudolph is bullied by his peers for his bright nose, only to eventually save the day and be celebrated by said peers, thanks to that same bright, red nose. Some critics’ concerns stem from the bullying scenes in Rudolph and his seclusion from partaking in any of the “reindeer games.” 

While I can see how promoting bullying in cartoons isn’t the message we want to send to our kids, I still have to wonder what good it does to nitpick every instance of televised wrongdoing. Considering how prominent sexist and racist tones were in American media in the 60s (I’m looking at you, ‘My Fair Lady’), searching for small, politically incorrect errors is not going to solve societal issues, and it doesn’t ensure that kids are learning right from wrong either. 

In fact, I feel the biggest takeaway from Rudolph is how he is able to overcome his insecurities and bullies in order to save Christmas. It’s a message to kids that there will always be bullies and people who try to bring them down, but learning to embrace their flaws makes them the better person. Attempting to shelter children from seeing bullying in one holiday classic is not going to stop them from being exposed to it in movies and in real life. 

Social justice warriors on social media also noted the lack of diversity at the movie’s North Pole to be a racism issue. Representation continues to be an important aspect of creating entertainment to ensure characters are accurate and relevant. The need for representation is quite lost on a movie like Rudolph though, since its slew of characters include a red-nosed reindeer, a snowman and a band of misfit toys. Rudolph’s North Pole is not meant to represent the world’s cultures and ethnicities, it’s meant to be a goofy take on a Christmas town.

With each passing day, more pieces of history and entertainment are “cancelled” by social media critics for various minuscule complaints. Working toward creating content that promotes equality and positive messages doesn’t lie in looking back on our mistakes, it’s about improving what we do now. Perhaps its time we stop picking out every politically incorrect flaw of the past and channel that energy into creating positive, diverse content for the future.