Thursday, April 1, 2021

Do We Really Need Cancel Culture?

This era of social media and the internet is an interesting thing. The online world is a great way for people to express their opinions and reach out to more people than was ever possible in the past. It helps make this large world feel smaller, its people are more connected. We get to learn more from each other. With the internet, we get to expand our world and our thoughts and ideas. We can call to action people from all over the world to support causes that are important to us, and it can make a difference for the better. But, as much as it can do a lot of good, it can do a lot of bad as well.

There are many things that I believe we could do less online: trolling, fake news, and the like. But the biggest thing that I find myself conflicted about is cancel culture.  That act of calling out people and “canceling” them is something that I feel does a lot more bad than good.

One thing that I think could be positive about cancel culture is that people stand up to others when they think a certain person has done something wrong. In the past, people would usually be afraid to call out others on things that they have done wrong. Lately, however, people have been braver about stepping out and speaking up against something that a person may have said and done. It helps to hold people accountable, and it helps them to learn more about things they may have done wrong. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

My concern with cancel culture is that there seems to be no room for that person to recover from being canceled. If someone said things in the past that could be due to youth/lack of maturity and inexperience, those words could come back to haunt him/her and cause that person to be canceled. Not only can a person lose his/her job for it, but it is something that could haunt that person for the rest of his/her career. As one person I follow on Instagram once said, there seems to be no room for forgiveness and redemption with cancel culture. I am genuinely concerned about that. 

I admit that certain people who are being “canceled” do deserve it. Those people who despite being blatantly wrong, show no remorse and often respond with, “I apologize if people were offended” instead of saying that they are sorry for what they said or did. But I still feel that there are people who were just being people. None of us are infallible. We all make mistakes; we all have missteps and have said misguided words or acted in ways that can haunt us later on. To say that a person should be canceled and have the rest of that person’s life constantly followed by the shadow of one mistake to the point that you lose your job/means of making a living seems a bit too harsh.

I appreciate a good calling out of people or groups that have done something wrong, but if the person or group being called out shows remorse and takes steps to make up for the mistake, I think that canceling is not the way to go. We need to give these people or groups the chance to own up to their mistakes and to take responsibility for them.

To cancel a person, to the point that the person is attacked online, can sometimes reach the point of bullying. That is alarming. While some can take care of themselves and can handle the pressure, there are many more who cannot. I would not want myself or people that I love to be placed in that kind of situation. 

Calling out people should lead to a discussion on what is wrong with what that person has said or done, but I would prefer that it not led to having someone be canceled. It is not something I would wish on anyone, especially if it leads to pressure and bullying that affects a person’s livelihood and mental health. 

Forgiveness may be a challenge at times, but I think we all need to use more of that. The world is crazy as it is, we need to spread more positivity than hate.


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