Cancel culture good or bad?

William T. Robinson, Jr.

Cancel culture is on the rise as a mechanism to bring negative, immoral, and unpopular actions of people (especially celebrities or public figures) under the microscope—causing the subject to be blackballed, boycotted, vilified, or ostracized in various social and professional circles and groups. This practice has been embellished among those engrossed in social media, causing some victims to be fired and intimidated by opponents voicing and expressing disgust and indignation against unpopular statements and actions by those targeted.

Social media makes it easier and faster to share ideas, information, documents, pictures and videos contributing to cancel culture by using computer-based technology distributed tactfully to many serving networks—even though the information may be erroneous. The global audience of these users stands at more than three billion—making websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram instrumental contributors in helping users express comments that may lead to cancel culture to some individuals or groups.

Many argue that disagreeing with popular opinions accepted by the masses seems to be under attack; therefore, suppressing an individual’s right to exercise freedom of speech. No doubt, cancel culture is a tenuous practice that can cause extensive harm or even ruin a person’s credibility and loss of income. Culturally blocking someone from having a platform is nothing to be taken lightly.

The knee jerk reaction from one who is attacked and becomes a victim of cancel culture is to quickly commit to a public apology and plead ignorance and naiveté, vowing to repent begging for the mercy of the public. Repentance is not always accepted because the public has excused some but attacked others, refusing to forgive them.

Now let’s be honestly frank. Some people’s cruel and dehumanizing actions and statements (especially those that are racist, sexist, and aimed hurtfully at the LGBT community) should be taken seriously and suffer the consequences thereof. But all controversial statements do not warrant ostracism and banishment when exercising your belief or personal concerns if you genuinely are not seeking to provoke anger among others disagreeing with you.

The weight and severity of your comments and actions (especially in hurting and harming others) should be the litmus test on the conditions of your attacks leading to ostracism.  Such is the case of some corporate CEOs, big name celebrities, and public political figures surreptitiously using their power and position to abuse and openly take advantage of the rights of others, especially in regards to discrimination and sexual abuse.

We must be very careful not to use cancel culture as a primary instrument used ruthlessly and maliciously toward those adamantly disagreeing with what is considered popular by the majority, thus discouraging and silencing critical dialogue and discussion. We must be cognizant that there are many daily problems and ‘distancing practices’ existing among us that could be alleviated or corrected if we all honestly voiced our true feelings based on our own personal reality of right or wrong. Silence or acquiescing doesn’t always serve us well as a nation when we can make a significant difference by sharing opposing views and working together to reach a mutual compromise.

Unfortunately, the caveat that comes with expressing or uncovering unpopular views and practices may be ostracism, which seems to be the major outcome and aim of cancel culture. For the most part, social media is the conduit of control that displays the severity of the disapproval by its viewers and often determines the direction to follow. We must be cautious that we don’t compromise or abuse the Constitutional right of the freedom of speech of decent people by rallying with those with malicious and spiteful purposes—hoping or seeking to defame some individual or group with vicious unsubstantiated lies sprouted by personal vengeance and envy.

Cancel cultural can be considered a double-edged sword, especially if someone is wrongly accused of some conduct or actions warranting condemnation. But by the same token, there are some horrendous flagrant situations by heinous duplicitous individuals or groups that should be brought to public attention to be thoroughly analyzed, judged, and perhaps boycotted or ostracized.

Some would argue vehemently that cancel culture is often necessary to bring truth to light. However, lately the political arena has joined in trying to use cancel culture as a political tool to assassinate and cause dispersions about their political rivals. One must be very careful and diligent in researching alleged information and making sure the data is accurate as well as determining the true motives behind the attacks or character assassinations.  Like cancel culture or not, once instigated, the stigma tends to stay with you even if the information later proves to be untrue.

Leave a Reply