On the Virtue of an Unused Hashtag

Before I  proceed, two disclaimers: 1) I don’t have a lot of time to type. This post will be longer than a Tweet, but shorter than I would like and, due to the lack of time, lacking in references. 2) I am an American heterosexual white male.

My prior post referred to a recent Twitterstorm, which I used as a platform to expound upon an old memory of which I’m emphatically not proud. I’ve wanted to type more about what’s going on in the present with respect to the #CancelColbert controversy and fallout. The truth is, many others have typed on the subject far more eloquently than I (and I’m hoping I can convince a few of them to read this (a rare instance of desiring an audience, perhaps)).

I have witnessed—recently with the #CancelColbert tsunami and in the past relating to other affairs—what happens when people of like mind but differing tactics come together in common cause only to have that cause turn into the wreckage cast up against the rocks of high expectations, poor communication, and unchecked ego.

I’m no activist, merely an observer. I try to show support where I can. I want to be less ignorant. I endeavor to communicate with care.

#CancelColbert was the tsunami that wrecked the metaphorical boats representing the possibilities of a united effort by disparate groups. Recovery will occur, no doubt, but I was (and am) troubled by the destruction I saw, the drowning of other voices, whether they were simply other engaged Twitter users, or those behind some of the other hashtag campaigns trying to rise to the level of broader media visibility.

Whether it’s #NotYourMascot, #NotYourAsianSidekick, #NotYourTerrorist, or any of the other possible Not Your Fill-in-the-blank, if I want to speak positively to such efforts I must recall who I am. So I offer this:


I will almost certainly never use this hashtag on Twitter, because it doesn’t mean what people are likely to think it means. The #NotYour(______) hashtags already in use are made for protesting the ills done to the targets of bigotry, marginalization, and worse. My hashtag is not a protest. I want #NotYourPatriarch to be understood as my way of saying, “I honor your cause and will stand with you.” And even if I must stand mute, still, I will stand.


2 thoughts on “On the Virtue of an Unused Hashtag

    • Well, I hesitate to describe myself as having been “caught up” in the weekend’s Twitter craziness. Rather, as I observed I found myself in a kind of mildly revelatory state that seemed to aid introspection and memory. The introspection, in turn, prompted me to make a few selective tweets here and there that I hope were helpful to people more involved in the fray.

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