Cancel Culture is Harmful

Written by Anna Furney, Reporter

Cancel culture has grown in popularity on social media in more recent years. (Photo by Adam Sullens)

  Cancel culture is sweeping the nation, and its results are striking. The Urban Dictionary defines cancel culture as “a modern internet phenomenon where a person is ejected from influence or fame by questionable actions … caused by a critical mass of people who are quick to judge and slow to question.” 

  In other words, people are being publicly ostracized by others for saying or doing something that is deemed politically incorrect.

  People’s futures are being determined by younger generations based on past mistakes, which  sometimes have taken place several years ago and no longer reflect the person’s current behavior.

   While it is never okay to be racist or discriminatory, it is also not okay to destroy someone’s life because they did something wrong. Of course, if the person committed an actual crime, this would be a different story, but people who have simply posted or liked an offensive joke or starred in a movie that is now interpreted differently are losing their livelihoods. 

  Sometimes the meaning of words, phrases or ideologies change over time. For example, from a historian’s perspective, the words “conversative” and “liberal” did not mean what they mean today. About 100 years ago, “conversative” ideologies were attributed to the Democrat Party, and “liberal” to the Republican Party. Nowadays, almost anyone knows that is the opposite in current American politics. This is an important concept to understand when discussing cancel culture, because when the meaning of something changes over time, it might not hold the same significance today as when it was created. Consequently, this is how cancel culture strikes. Once something is deemed out of date, it is viciously attacked. While these persons believe they are helping society, the results are actually hurting people.

   This is unacceptable. Freedom of speech and expression is one of the First Amendment rights promised to Americans, and cancel culture is stripping Americans of those rights. People are also ignoring the fact that humans make mistakes. Cancel culture is taking away this element of humanity, of learning from mistakes.

  Instead of attacking others, people should use this time as an opportunity to educate, not punish. If someone says something offensive, politely inform them that their words are hurtful or not appropriate. If people discover someone’s racist past, they should acknowledge that people can change. People are no longer promoting a loving environment that helps others when they screw up. If people only ever condemn and ostracize others for making mistakes, they can never properly grow and learn.