Is YouTuber Dhruv Rathee Cancelled For Tone-Deaf Assertions on Feminism and Black Lives Matter?

Social Commentary

Is YouTuber Dhruv Rathee Cancelled For Tone-Deaf Assertions on Feminism and Black Lives Matter?

Illustration: Arati Gujar

The murder of African-American man George Floyd has renewed the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, with dozens of protests against police brutality in the last few weeks making global headlines.

Back home, these widely-publicised protests have led to a few debates as well, with a number celebrities speaking out in support of the movement, and other sections of social media urging Indians to open their eyes to the situation in their own country.

A recent video analysis by YouTuber Dhruv Rathee on the protests in America has led to the latest of these debates. After supposedly presenting all the data to establish why African-Americans need a Black Lives Matter movement, Rathee questioned why movements like BLM or feminism used words like “black” and “female” in their titles.

More than half way through the 16-minute explainer video, Rathee makes the rather tone-deaf assertion that he, personally, would have chosen a more inclusive and balanced title if he had to name a movement that fights for equality — a clip of which has made him the subject of various Twitter discussions through the day.

His argument prompted a few Twitter users to declare that their IQ levels had dropped.

Others sought to explain to him exactly why there was no need for balance in this situation, and requested him to take his earlier statement back.

The influential YouTuber later took to Twitter to defend his stand. However, his claims that he was talking purely in terms of “marketability”, and his assertion that “so-called liberals” were taking his views “out of context” seemed to find few takers online.

A number of replies to the thread, pointed out exactly why his position was problematic, and that he was digging the hole deeper with his overzealous defence.

Meanwhile, despite the fallacy in his argument — especially when considering his own analysis of the situation — there isn’t much else in the video that indicates Rathee’s views are too divergent from those of the “liberals” he called out in his first tweet.

Before his lapse in judgement, which comes 13 minutes into the video, the YouTuber does, to his credit, give viewers a comprehensive and data-backed history of institutional bias, racial tension, and police brutality in the USA.

He, as a few pointed out, seemed to be mostly sympathetic to the Black Lives Matter protests.

Rathee also connects the movement to the situation in India, breaking down the similarities between racism in America and casteism and communal tensions back home.

While urging Indians to call out bigotry within their families, he shared a viral video of a young American girl arguing with her father (who calls black people “animals”) and stresses on the need for more of us to be like that girl.

So even though his video analysis may have come from the right place, and resonated with a few, the fact that the YouTuber has decided to double down on his claims about “Black Lives Matter” and “feminism” being misnomers, is only likely to lead to more debate online. The internet, as they say, never forgets.