Abolition culture is “the practice or tendency to engage in mass abolition as a means of expressing rejection and exerting social pressure.” (Photo: 123RF)
Economic Analysis – Originating in the United States, “cultural abolition” first appeared in Canada in the cultural industry In universities. And as with our American neighbors, it will spread more and more to companies – especially large corporations – that will have to find the appropriate response to this social and cultural activity.
According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, a culture of abolition is “the practice or tendency to engage in mass cancellation as a means of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure.”
Most of the time, this social rejection is a reaction to a person’s behavior, decision, or opinions, not to mention the policies or strategies put forward by organizations, including private companies.
In Quebec, the SLAV show is a famous case of this cancellation culture.
In July 2018, the management of the Montreal International Jazz Festival canceled the Betty Boniface show, directed by Robert LeBage, following the numerous protests it sparked.
Protesters criticized the cast for making room for members of the black community, while the show delicately dealt with black slavery.
Some saw a “Racial appropriation”.
Crisis at the University of Ottawa
Another famous case is that of a University of Ottawa professor, Virushka Lieutenant Duval, who was suspended from her position last fall for pronouncing the word that begins with the letter “N” in the frame of a letter.
Although the teacher apologized for using the word, an angry student posted a tweet containing a screenshot of the apology as well as Verushka Lieutenant-Duval’s name and contact details.
The culture of abolition is not limited to the cultural industry and education. The magazine insisted in September that companies in the United States should take the phenomenon seriously. Forbes.
Experts read the same thing for Canada’s business community.
“Our approach is to say: Prepare before this happens to you,” Andre Pratt explained to me this week. Senior director at Navigator, a Canadian firm that specializes in problem management and strategic communications, and a former senator and columnist for Journalism.
In recent months, Team Navigator – whose chief executive was Brian Gallant, former New Brunswick Prime Minister from 2014 to 2018 – gave presentations to business associations in Canada on national and international issues of concern to Canadians. Answer.
However, there are two issues of primary importance to citizens: inequality of income and wealth, as well as unequal treatment and discrimination.
André Pratt also believes that companies with practices and policies that conflict with these concerns are more vulnerable to pressure in the public arena.
Additionally, for an organization, it is not sufficient to have a discourse condemning inequality or advocating diversity. It is also imperative that company practices embody these values.
In short, shoes must follow the lips.
There is nothing worse than a company that denounces inequality while providing poverty wages to its employees. Or a company that openly advocates for diversity but only hires women or men, who are also only white.
Attention in “getting up and washing up”
In an analysis published in July, the Harvard Business Review He made clear that organizations with this position – which do “Woke-Washing,” to use this post’s term – risk suffering from this lack of consistency and originality.
Because the abolition of culture is also part of the “awakening movement”, this state of mind in the face of injustice suffered by minorities, especially racism.
This left-wing movement divides society, in Quebec as elsewhere in North America and Europe.
Some see it as the vanguard of progressivism that condemns injustice, inequality and discrimination, as well as giving voice to racial minorities that have not been heard before.
On the one hand, others see it as a radicalization that, in the name of social and ethnic justice, imposes a climate of self-censorship comparable to the worst violations of the extreme left of Marxism in the 1960s and 1970s.
The truth is undoubtedly halfway in the minds of the vast majority of moderate citizens.
Yes to social changes because mentalities and values develop and must evolve, but no to a clean, unjustified page and an exaggerated social deconstruction.
Moreover, corporations are not obligated to succumb to all social pressures of civil society and abolish culture.
However, there may be a price to be paid to stay on the sidelines. And organizations that want to be in tune with the community must do so with consistency and originality.
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