Cancel culture is used to bring down powerful people and just ruin people’s reputations. I have witnessed more than four people and many others who are celebrities getting “canceled” for something they didn’t do. It got to the point where they weren’t even being canceled, just cyberbullied into a depressional state. They are targeted by people who don’t use real facts. They have power and choose not to fact-check.
I want to stop cancel culture because it ruins people for selfish reasons. Sometimes the wrong person is accused when making these accusations. I want people to understand that no matter what your opinion is about someone, you can’t just try to bring them down for something far into their past, mistakes that they learned from and changed and then you use it against them today. This makes their supporters turn on them and they lose everything.
A 10th-grader named Thomas Ullman described how in his class they were reading about Joseph Conrad who was an unbounded explorer and captivating writer. Instead of learning more about him and asking questions, the class just argued about why they shouldn’t be learning about him, that he doesn’t deserve to be noticed because of his insensitive racial comments. While it was wrong, it was normalized back in the 19th century. He explained that people who “cancel” old figures aren’t learning the lesson. As students, we need to learn from their mistakes or else history will continue to repeat itself. Even people from the past who are insensitive, we can still learn from instead of just canceling them for something that was normalized (“Cancel Culture Is Undermining Learning and Harming Students like Me”).
Although canceling culture can be helpful for allegations of serious misconduct, it also reveals that sometimes the reports are false or very old offenses, used just to bring down a person and ruin them, which is considered cyberbullying. The article mentions that cancel culture is nothing new, but it didn’t have as powerful an effect as it does now. This suggests that people need to be honest about their facts and not dig far back into the past just to ruin someone, especially when that person has shown growth since that time (“Cancel Culture”).
Shouting about someone’s since-buried past on Twitter while attempting to fire them from a new role isn’t accomplishing anything (“Why we should cancel the phrase ‘cancel culture’”). Rather than canceling the people who acted poorly, perhaps we should talk about the hatred spewing through society. Maybe it would be more effective to seek ways to help people grow instead of tearing them down. There’s only one way to stop cancel culture and it’s going to take all of us. The next time someone is being canceled for something they’ve done, look not at the person but at the problem in society that drove them to act in such a way or just the fact the person is uneducated. Then find a way in your own life to address that issue and counteract it. No matter how small the change is, if everyone does their part, there won’t be a need for social media cancellations (“The problem with ‘cancel’ culture and why it needs to stop”).
Today’s generation is so into cancel culture that they are now trying to cancel dead people. Some wonder if anyone understands what it means to cancel someone instead of just using that word to have people dig far back into the person’s past (“If curtailing racist imagery in Dr. Seuss is ‘cancel culture,’ what, exactly, is your culture?”).
Unfortunately, canceling often turns into bullying. Like bullying, if you’ve been canceled, it can make you feel ostracized, socially isolated, and lonely. Research shows that loneliness is associated with higher anxiety, depression, and suicide rates. It can feel as if everyone is giving up on you before you’ve even had the chance to apologize. Instead of creating a dialogue to help you understand how your actions hurt them, the cancelers shut off all communication with you, robbing you of the opportunity to learn and grow from your mistakes or insensitivities (“The Mental Health Effects of Cancel Culture”).
Some aspects of cancel culture can be useful in holding people and organizations accountable for bad behavior. On the flip side, it can take bullying to a new level, damaging the mental well-being of everyone involved. People need to learn that to truly grow and become a better person, you need to realize a mistake was made, fix that mistake, and take the proper steps to ensure you don’t make the same mistake again.
Without these steps you’re going to have the entire world watching you like a hawk to try and destroy your reputation and life. I think people should try to think before they act on a piece of information that they find. For example, if the information is outdated and it seems irrelevant to mention it about that person now, don’t say it; just keep it to yourself. But if it’s something more serious like any form of sexual assault or being uneducatedly racist toward others and the person never faced their consequences, then bring it to the public’s attention but be wise on how you tell people.
Esmie Alwaeli is a freshman at OPRF High School.