Cancel culture is a term that commonly came into use in the late 2010s and early 2020s. The central idea behind “cancel culture” is the idea of “canceling” someone. In other words, blocking an individual from a prominent career or public platform. Cancel culture also brings about a chilling effect, where some vocal members of society have massive influence over society as a whole. These vocal individuals’ or groups’ decisions make the public perceive certain ideas or even individuals as being ‘right or wrong’ without much investigation or consideration. The twenty-first century is characterized by technological innovations that have resulted in heightened social interactions, at least at the level of online social interactions. Individuals can now cancel out key figures through the adoption of an ideology mobilizing people to stop supporting a person. The culture has had negative effects on the career and personal growth of people who are not allowed to explain their actions resulting in the rise of a rigorously conforming form of social ideology.
Public Role in Shaping Social Norms
The public has a role in shaping social norms and standards by identifying societal ills and providing solutions to avoid future reoccurrences. However, social equity entails giving all individuals an opportunity to respond to criticism. When individuals air their dissatisfaction with key social figures, it should be done so that the victims can explain the reason behind their way of behaving or or the reason behind the things they’ve said. In 2020, Harper Magazine published “A Letter on Open Debate and Justice,” signed by more than 150 key public figures determined to block the spread of cancel culture amid heightened social media interactions (Clark 1). Public opinion through social media platforms has been used in making social, political, and economic policies without an assessment of the ideology behind the reasoning. Consequently, the public figures believed there was a need for open debates to involve the individuals facing cancellation. Some of the public figures felt that they had been victims of canceling themselves, significantly affecting their personal and career growth. They argue that individuals need to tolerate each other’s differences without discrimination. In doing so, societies will become better places, and social equity will prevail.
Assessment of the Cancel Culture Impact
The best way to create an environment of cultural understanding is to assess the impact of cancel culture on personal and social growth. Individuals facing cancel culture are usually celebrities and key political figures. These individuals’ careers and personal lives can essentially be ruined by unfair and inaccurate accusations. Interacting with the individuals is vital because other people, often careless and univested people, should not have a monopoly over these individuals live and abilities to achieve critical personal and career growth. At the 2020 Republican National Conventions, key political figures, including former US President Donald Trump, indirectly addressed the issue of cancel culture in modern societies. Social media was deemed among the key propagators of “cancel culture” and the public was urged to create societies where fairness and equality are the guiding principles (Romano).
Some have found that cancel culture encourages lawlessness, the muting of citizens, the erasure of history, and is a violation in the free exchange of ideas. The continued growth of cancel culture can lead to social stagnation where all celebrities get muted from time to time and can hardly rise to fame again. Consequently, there is a need to stop cancel culture from being used as a tool of social injustice.
Cancel culture can potentially lead to the growth of societies where the government can be forced to address issues affecting the masses. However, it adversely affects individuals’ career and personal growth, hindering social growth and development. Creating societies governed through equity and fairness can be vital in causing positive social changes. Consequently, measures should be implemented to not only prevent cancel culture but to promote social justice.
Clark, Meredith D. “Drag Them: A Brief Etymology Of So-Called “Cancel Culture.” Commentaries For Special Forum, vol 1, no. 1, 2020, pp. 1-5., https://doi.org/10.1177/2057047320961562. Accessed 16 Dec 2021.
Romano, Aja. “Why We Can’t Stop Fighting About Cancel Culture.” Vox, 2021, https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/12/30/20879720/what-is-cancel-culture-explained-history-debate.
Cancel Culture and Reducing the Growth of Individuals
Cancel culture has been linked to reducing the personal and career growth of individuals. Although it can lead to beneficial social changes, the culture should be stopped as it restricts individuals’ right to explain themselves without being judged. The public should engage in open debates concerning the effects cancel culture has on societies while encouraging fairness, equality, and justice.
Additionally, governments need to put measures in place that can prevent the spread of cancel culture while promoting justice and equality among citizens. In doing so, societies will become better places where all citizens are free from discriminatory practices allowing them to express their opinion freely.
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