Cancel Culture; current media and news articles seem to be peppered with this term. But what is it? What does it mean? Well, basically, cancel culture is the new ‘hip’ term for online shaming. You know, that thing that we were all told not to do in school. Whether it be a person, company/organization, or even movement, the intended target is publicly humiliated on the largest stage out there: the internet, mainly through social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook.
And you may be thinking: how would one get this giant target on their back? Judging from the articles that keep popping up on my news feed, it could be anything. The smallest slip up from a celebrity’s not so long forgotten past, a perceived slight towards someone who has more than enough time to go post about it on their live stream, or a scandal large enough to make it to the mainstream news. Whatever it may be, the public (who are more than willing to hop on the bandwagon, lest they get run over by it) are quick to ‘cancel’ the target, withdrawing whatever support they may have previously shown and boycotting anything that has to do with the person, company, organization, etc.
But, when is enough, enough? How far is too far? Well, this is an ongoing debate. There are some who believe that cancel culture forces public figures to acknowledge the mistakes that they’ve made, whether they be in the past or from the present. It also holds these public figures up to a moral light. Maybe they will think twice before doing something if it means they may become the next target of cancel culture. Then, there’s the other side of the coin from those who see cancel culture as nothing more than a witch hunt. I don’t like or agree with one thing that someone has said, therefore I’ll call them out until the whole world knows and agrees about how awful of a person they are.
Where you fall on this cancel culture spectrum will probably vary day by day. Something someone says may rub you the wrong way while the comments of someone else may seem perfectly reasonable to you. Whatever it may be, I believe that we have a duty to not just hop on the bandwagon as soon as we see the word ‘cancel’, but instead to take a moment to pause and think. Take a deep breath, take in the facts, and take a moment to decide how you want to participate in today’s cancel culture.