Nuance is Dead

Adebayo Adeniran
3 min readJan 4, 2022

Along with everything else in civilized society

A few days ago, the Harry Potter actor, Emma Watson tweeted her support for the Palestine, quoting Sarah Ahmed:

Solidarity does not assume that our struggles are the same struggles, or that our pain is the same pain, or that our hope is the same for the future. Solidarity involves commitment, and work, as well as the recognition that even if we do not have the same feelings, or the same lives, or the same bodies, we do live on common ground

Screen shot from Twitter

No sooner had these words and image were tweeted, than the backlash came in, and it was served very hot, as with everything online, these days.

Emma Watson was denounced as an anti-semite for daring to speak up on behalf of the Palestinians.

At what point does solidarity with Palestinians and the Palestinian cause become anti-semitism?

Does anti-zionism equate to anti-semitism?

Has polite society in a bid to stifle dissent, killed nuance?

Does every criticism imply bigotry?

I pose these questions because the same issue did rear its ugly head several months ago in the immediate aftermath of the release of Dave Chapelle’s stand up special.

Chapelle took aim at every race and group with a view to getting us to confront the very worst of our pathologies and he did so using comedy.

Sometimes in the most profane way and in other ways, quite profound,Chapelle deployed his gifts to highlight the blind spots of the LGBTQQ community in a way that did ruffle some serious feathers and which for a minute, seriously threatened to derail his career.

But everything Dave Chapelle had to say came to a number of things:

Are we prepared to confront our blind spots, in a bid to make the world fairer for all?

Are we prepared to allow some space for nuance in our public debates?

Are criticisms of any minority groups an absolute no no?

For I seriously think that we need to step back to try to regain our sanity and look for ways of letting nuance back into our conversations.

If we aren’t prepared to do this, it is fair to say that subtlety and imagination in speech and debate is completely dead in our time, and we can start to demonize anyone expressing a view contrary to those of the majority in society.

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Adebayo Adeniran

A lifelong bibliophile, who seeks to unleash his energy on as many subjects as possible