If there is one thing that everyone can agree on in 2020, it’s that ‘cancel culture’ has depleted our tolerance. The chances of getting shunned for saying something that isn’t favorable to the masses are pretty high.
The idea of publicly ‘canceling’ individuals, brands, and organizations dates back to earlier times. However, the 2020 pandemic has fueled our anger mob mentality.
But here’s the thing about cancel culture, it creates an ‘us vs them’ environment. It’s emanated from a mob-like mentality. If you say something off, you are shamed for life.
On why accountability is important
If we aren’t learning from our mistakes, how can we hold ourselves accountable to be more ethical than the societies we grew up in?
The answer to this question is in the keyword ‘accountability.’ For the longest time, people who raise their voices against injustices have been making the world a better place.
But, “canceling people” does not aim to hold people accountable for their actions, but rather, it normalizes the ideas of shame and dismay.
Actress Jameela Jamil, who is now a strong advocate of the body positivity movement, recalled in an interview with Trevor Noah that she didn’t always have these beliefs. However, years of accountability and learning from her mistakes have taught her to constantly strive to become a better person.
Understanding that cancel culture is toxic is not an excuse to let people get away with mistakes. It is; however, allowing those individuals to atone for their bad behavior.
On the importance of callout culture
The inherent problem, thus, is in the rhetoric behind ‘cancel’ culture. Callout culture, on the other hand, is more about accountability than cancellation which can often be passive and dismissive.
Cancel culture comes from a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude. The canceling police feel it’s their right to sentence brands or organizations that make mistakes as guilty for life. It diminishes the party at fault off of the maps for good. This person does not exist anymore and their name has a negative connotation for life. Therefore, there is no room for them to redeem themselves.
However, that does not mean that we can just let rapists and rape apologists off the hook in the name of being anti-cancel culture. In some cases, a bit of cancellation is necessary. A society that chooses to let bad behavior go unnoticed on the premise of ‘all humans make mistakes’ is dangerous and toxic.
It is so important to cultivate a culture that enables us to correct each other. At the end of the day, if we aren’t actively helping each other grow, how are we expecting our society to be healthy?