We hear it all the time “This person is cancelled.” When an individual, typically a celebrity acts in a less than becoming manner, everyone is quick to call them out and cancel them. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “cancel,” it mean to basically shun someone because of something they said or did. These days, people are extremely quick to call someone out on their bad behavior. One bad move (even if that bad move happened 5 years ago) and someone can be cancelled beyond the point of redemption. While I definitely think cancel culture dances on the line of extreme toxicity, there are some aspects of it that I appreciate.
Traditionally, celebrities and public figures have been held on a pedestal and excused from bad behavior. The days of doing whatever they want and getting away with it are coming to an end as citizen journalists and members of society are normalizing the idea of keeping public figures accountable for their actions. While there are pros to this, there are also some serious cons. These cons include the fact that for the most part, cancel culture is pretty permanent. No one wants the person in question to be redeemed. Instead, they want them to be publicly shamed while being unable to make up for their actions. I have a major issue with this because:
1. This reinforces the destructive “us” vs. “them” narrative
2. If our goal is to create a more just world, which it must be if we passionate enough to cancel someone, then we should welcome and applaud those who learn from their mistakes. In a world that is so divided, we should be focused on closing that gap instead of opening it up wider.
The longer we have the “us” vs. “them” mentality, the longer we will be divided. Just because someone thinks differently than you, does not mean they need to become the “other.” The beauty of life is that we are all different and we have unique experiences that make us unique. Difference isn’t a bad thing. It allows for various perspectives and more open-mindedness. Cancel culture mentality is toxic because it causes people to lose their sensitivity to others and see them as less than people. Although it may not seem serious right now, as this type of mentality persists, it becomes easier to physically harm others. As a nation, our mutual objective should be to work towards mutual understanding, not continued division. We can reach this goal by keeping in mind that everyone makes mistakes and everyone deserves an opportunity to make up for their wrongdoings. Of course it is important to ensure that the individual in question is being authentic about their apology and not simply looking to save face. If someone has clearly made an effort to change their ways and actively make up for their past by taking real action, why should they be shamed for it? A little sensitivity and compassion goes a very long way.
How do you feel about cancel culture? Do the pros outweigh the cons?
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