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Minorities and freedom of expression: the red line

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A humorous video hosted by this newspaper recently gave rise to a controversy that has become commonplace elsewhere, in various forms. In question, invariably: the principle of freedom of expression in the face of demands from movements for the defense of women or minorities. And above all the choice of weapons for these combats, which are moreover perfectly legitimate in our largely phallo-dominant societal system. In this context, in parallel with the desirable legislative developments – as well as the evolution of the notion of rape – the recourse to a certain number of strong actions to awaken the political and economic establishment can also be understood. We do not make a revolution without some excesses. However, we cannot tolerate everything.

Because it is indeed a revolution, of a moral order, which is underway, powerful thanks to the often anonymous levers that are the social networks. The boycott of artists denounced for sexual violence, the tags on the statues of historical figures, the removal of caricatures in the New York Times, cultural appropriation to the end (can journalism still tell the story of the world, wonders Serge Michel on, rapper Vivi fired from The voice, Time ordered to remove a video: so many examples inspired by the cancel culture born on American campuses, which is based on critical theory, which serves as its philosophical and sociological guarantee. It advocates emancipatory social practices and a dynamic that should not be hampered by concepts that could thwart it. This allows human rights, such as freedom of expression or the presumption of innocence, to be relegated to a form of obstacle.

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