You are Canceled.

Personal Article

Cancel culture. If you’ve been on social media, you’ve heard of it. But what we’re here to discuss is the controversy that lies with this trend. Is it beneficial or toxic? Keep reading to find out.

by Sindu Vipparthy

You’ve been nulled. Ended. Boycotted. Abandoned. You’ve been canceled.

Cancel culture. You’ve probably heard of it before if you’ve been active on any kind of social media. If you haven’t, I’ll take the courtesy of telling you what it is.

Cancel culture is the popular social media practice of withdrawing support for a person or group of people after they’ve done something that could be considered offensive. For example, if a celebrity made a homophobic remark over Twitter. Canceled. If a white YouTuber said the “n-word” in one of their videos. Canceled. If a popular model engages in cultural misappropriation. Canceled!

So in summary, it’s just when people gather together to publicly shame. Along with calling them out over social media, people also engage in boycotting their work while also trying to take away the person’s public platform and power.

Even if, to you, it’s the small act of unfollowing them on Instagram or not watching their Youtube videos, cancel culture can be serious for these individuals. It can force them to completely lose their careers over their tarnished reputations. It can cause someone to lose their life entirely.

So, that’s where the trilemma lies. Is cancel culture acceptable and beneficial in taking action against hate? Or is it actually harmful and toxic? Or, is there a neutral perspective. Well, that’s what we’re here to find out.

Cancel culture is beneficial to society:

If you haven’t noticed, cancel culture has been EXTREMELY effective in combating sexism, racism, homophobia, or any other type of hate towards a group of people.

Cancel culture allows the average person to have some sort of power to voice their opinions and backlash towards a certain person. When someone has done something problematic or hateful, the people have the power to stop supporting them and “cancel” them. This no longer concerns only the rich and powerful.

And in terms of being effective, cancel culture targets social change by addressing inequalities that those that are oppressed face. In 2016, power couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith boycotted the Oscars, addressing the fact that there were obvious inequalities between the nominees for the awards with #OscarsSoWhite. Although the couple received backlash for their actions, it sparked change. In 2019, the record was set for the most black Oscar nominees in history.

Back in May, when the Black Lives Matter movement went through a surge in supporters, a video posted by Melody Cooper on Twitter went viral. She wrote:

“Oh, when Karens take a walk with their dogs off-leash in the famous Bramble in NY’s Central Park, where it is clearly posted on signs that dogs MUST be leashed at all times, and someone like my brother (an avid birder) politely asks her to put her dog on the leash.”

The video consisted of a black man politely asking a white woman to put her dog on a leash, as per the rules. “Karen” promptly called for the cops, stating “an African American man is threatening my life… send the cops immediately” all whilst seemingly strangling her dog. The video went viral, receiving millions of views. Shortly after, she was fired from her investment firm job, forced to surrender her dog, and charged for false accusation. She faced the consequences. She was canceled.