Earlier this week, the singer Lizzo released a record containing a word she didn’t realise was a slur against disabled people. When disabled people told her on social media that it was derogatory, she effectively said “Oh my god! I’m so sorry!” and re-released the song with the word changed.
If you believe the endless pieces about cancel culture in the press, you’d expect Lizzo to be on the receiving end of ongoing abuse. But that’s not what happened. The very same fans and disability advocates who had criticised her thanked her. This, by writer Hannah Diviney, is typical:
Thank you so much for hearing us Lizzo and for understanding that this was only ever meant gently and being open to learning, it honestly means the world.
Had Lizzo been a famous comedian or an opinion columnist, I suspect things would have been very different: they’d have used the slur deliberately and then rather than apologising, they’d have doubled down on the offence and planned their lucrative “I’ve been cancelled!” tour and media appearances. But Lizzo is a member of multiple marginalised groups, so she did what the comedians and columnists usually don’t: she listened, realised she’d made a mistake and apologised.
In other words, she tried to be a decent human being.