I do think our generation is okay and all, but amongst some of the things I dislike about Generation Z, there is one thing I cannot stand: cancel culture. See, I could end the blog here because you probably know where this is going, but I actually want to explain why I have such a deep hatred for cancel culture and why I cannot be a part of it.
Can we make it more normal to ask questions first?
The number of people who will refer to a person and say “I don’t really look at their content anymore or support them, they’re cancelled” but don’t actually know why they’ve been cancelled is somewhat concerning. Cancel culture operates on two fronts: hunting season and social murder. People on the internet see a public figure, dig through their social media accounts, and find some dirt. From there, the public figure is cancelled. It sounds like a simple and normal process but I’d argue that it’s too simple and shouldn’t be normal. Cancel culture deals with an individual based on statements made in the past, but doesn’t give them any chance to improve or amend their way of thinking. Instead of having a constructive discussion with the individual to understand where they are at and if they still think in the same way today, we just place them on the outskirts of society. Even if they do still think in the same way, we don’t try to educate them or have a constructive conversation about why we think their views are problematic, so they never learn or grow, but have the same backwards thinking on the outskirts. In fact, other people with the same way of thinking are now closeted and will not openly express their views out of fear, so we’re covering our problems rather than smothering our problems.
And do we ever stop to question the factors that influenced them?
We love to talk about how different social factors influence everything around us but when it comes to the accused on the internet, they are suddenly inherently evil and nothing in our society could’ve caused them to be this way. Usually, people dig up statements made by people from years before but forget that they would’ve been living with their parents or forcibly situated in environments that harbour backwards views, such as schools that lacked diversity or towns that tried to hold onto traditions. People under the age of 18 often cannot escape such situations, and with much less exposure to the internet and a range of different world views in that time, they would be so much more likely to succumb to whatever narrative they are fed as a kid. I’m literally begging you to stop getting all of your information from social media and try to think more critically about situations.
If that’s the case, why do we believe that a change of perspective is not possible?
I really do think about how I was before I became a Christian when I think about cancel culture. I was and at times still am manipulative, a liar, rude to anyone who didn’t agree with me, I used to fetishise people, slander others and the list goes on. The only reason I’m not cancelled right now is that I didn’t post my thoughts on the internet. But we all have some problematic thoughts and we are (or should be) in a constant process of change. Think about you five years ago and you now. How offended would you be if someone who knew you five years ago told you that you’re no different? If you believe that different social factors truly affect one’s perspective, why do we cancel people permanently under the false pretence that they aren’t sorry and haven’t changed? This goes especially for cases where the accused has left the environment where they developed their views. If their environment has changed, surely the social factors have changed, so their views should naturally change unless they cling onto them for dear life?
Listen, I’m not defending bigotry.
I cannot defend bigotry. But I can and I will defend people. If societal progress looks like telling people to kill themselves, doxing people, threatening to harm people and their loved ones and attacking a person rather than their views, then I’ll sit this one out. What if in a decade from now public opinion changes and everyone who cancelled people or told people to kill themselves or attacked people online was being cancelled? Participating in cancel culture only feels good when you’re not under the executioner’s axe, so stop feeding your superiority complex and know that under different social conditioning you might have ended up the same as them.