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While I am not a supporter of Salem City Councilor Dibble, I must express my disappointment that The Salem News would see fit to lead with the April 23 headline – in bolded capital letters -- “Councilor uses slur in video.” This would seem to be yet another iteration of “cancel culture” – a type of “gotcha” reaction that seeks to discredit someone for an action that any one of us can (and likely will) be guilty at one time or another.
As used, the word was certainly not a “slur.” A slur is used to characterize a person or group in a derogatory way. As I understand it, Mr. Dibble used the term in question as a descriptive one – and in a way that was considered normative not so very long ago. Instead of seeking to discredit the characters of others based on single incidents, it might be better to give people the benefit of the doubt, allow them to make amends as needed, and then move on. As Gandhi said of those who opposed him, “I want to change their minds – not kill them for weaknesses we all possess.” It’s time to end “cancel culture” – and it should begin in our own back yard.