Cancel culture is essentially when a notable person does or says something that is grossly offensive or discriminatory toward a disadvantaged or marginalized person or demographic, and then, advocates for that person or demographic rally together to make the notable person infamous. In effect, the culprit may lose endorsements, sponsorships, their job, or simply their reputation. Isn’t cancel culture a good thing? Well, what does cancel culture exactly do?
The appeal of cancel culture is that “bad people” are no longer given a platform to infect others with their toxic thinking patterns (not the writer’s sentiments). Instead of allowing a harmful idea to spread, the goal is to suppress it, and suppress it as swiftly as possible. In fact, cancel culture is a form of censorship. What does this say about freedom of speech?
Effectively, cancel culture leads to one group of people silencing another person or group of people who may or may not be eager to grow intellectually, but are then stunted in the process of human development. Cancel culture is punitive, vengeful, and does not necessarily foster growth. This can be likened to the punitive process of the prison system which does not seek to truly rehabilitate but only appears to punish and throw individuals into a world that perpetuates stagnation and the decay of human societal interaction.
Excommunication is an act that the historical Catholic church used to enact on individuals who did not meet the criteria for acceptable behaviors. This, essentially, involved banishing individuals from the church. Let’s admit that the historical Catholic church may not be the best model for just courses of action given their extensive track record.
As a black male, there is something satisfyingly vindictive about cancel culture, specifically, when it comes to issues of race. But is vengeance a good enough reason for widespread cancellation? Most cynics would say yes... But all that may do is keep cancel culture alive and well for generations to come. Considering, it would also be impossible to cancel all the people in some way worthy of cancellation (i.e. Everyone). Therefore, cancel culture, while we have the human right to enact and enforce this collectively, it may not necessarily be to our benefit in many cases. Cancel culture creates isolation and perpetuates the deterioration of relationships and eliminates opportunities for growth within those relationships.
“So, I’m supposed to be OK with other people being ignorant?” Well, yes…and…no. Ignorance is OK in the fact that we all possess some level of ignorance, and ignorance is not OK to the extent that it is discriminatory toward a person or group. My personal rule of thumb in this: Empathy before cancellation.
Does the appeal of cancellation supersede your appeal to empathy? What might that say about you? Do we do this to important people in our lives? What about our relationships? Maybe to our close family members or even our spouse? The opposite of cancel culture is surely not permissiveness. Rather, the opposite of cancel culture is rehabilitative, reparative, fosters growth, educates, and forgives.
Conflict with others is an inevitable part of life due to our varying perspectives and levels of perception. Destroying a relationship is a choice not a natural consequence of another person’s actions. Could it be that the person on the other side of your perspective is, on some level, seeking to expand their perspective? Think about that before jumping on the next cancel culture bandwagon.
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About Sam Nabil
Sam offers therapy in Boston and Boston Marriage Counseling for adults suffering from relationship challenges, life transitions and anxiety. Sam Nabil was featured in many prestigious publications. Check out his interview with Aljazeera English, The Washington post, The Boston Globe, Fatherly magazine, Women's health magazine, Cornell university, Yahoo News, USA Today, Marriage.com
Naya Clinics offers Marriage Counselors near me, individual therapy near me, and life coaching near me in various locations across the USA and the world. Naya Clinics also offers Online marriage counseling, online therapy, and online life coaching.
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