Over the past several months we have all heard the term “cancel culture” and have seen celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Demi Lovato, J.K. Rowling and Piers Morgan (who actually canceled himself) be called out and judged on social media for their inappropriate comments or actions. Cancel culture does not discriminate, and all of us can fall prey to its swift and sometimes merciless justice.
But what exactly is cancel culture? According to Wikipedia, cancel culture (or call-out culture) is a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles — whether it be online, on social media or in person. Those who are subject to this ostracism are said to have been “canceled.” The expression “cancel culture” has mostly negative connotations and is commonly used in debates on free speech and censorship.
For some, once someone has been “canceled” there is no going back, and forgiveness is not granted. Cancel culture can have long-term effects, including a loss of reputation and income along with the emotional toll it can take on an individual and his or her well-being. We have all said or done things we are not proud of — and perhaps our words or actions may have not been caught on video — but at what point do we stop calling people out and start calling them in?
According to writer and musician Eden Arielle Gordon: “Not only is cancel culture ineffective, but it can actually deter change, deepening divisions instead of building relationships that have the potential to change minds (and eventually, the world).”
So, is cancel culture really effective or are we creating greater division and missed opportunities to invite others to learn, grow, evolve and change? I will be doing more “calling in” so I can connect with others on a higher level. I want to explore and learn where the offensive comments and/or actions are coming from. Is it a case of biases or someone having received misinformation? Or was it a lapse in good judgement?
As Grandma Parsons used to say, “Tedi, sweep off your own back porch before sweeping off others.” Sage words from an incredible lady. I want to make sure that I am examining someone’s heart before their actions. Perhaps we can all use more moments of “calling in” and using these experiences to learn, grow, evolve and change ourselves.