By Mecca Fowler
Cancel culture is an ugly beast that’s becoming larger than any person or political party could have intended.
As ideologically divided as we are here in America, we still have a common sense of what is socially and not socially acceptable. However, in judging people whose actions we deem wrong, people can get carried away and become intolerant themselves.
Increasingly, people skip right over their discernment in a rush to judge what others say.
In the past, if a major celebrity or prominent figure did or said something that the culture did not agree with, people would protest them, boycott anything they were selling, or simply refuse to engage with that individual or organization.
However, with the rise of social media and other norms changing in society, everyday people are being held in this same regard.
People that they do not know from Adam or Eve. People who may simply be posting a thought that comes to their mind whether they believe they are right or not. People who may not have even given a second thought to what they are posting.
That does not mean that ordinary citizens should be admonished from accountability or responsibility for the thoughts they put into the public record either. For every action in this world there is an equal and opposite reaction.
But imagine if people would take a step back before trying to get a “got-cha” or “hold them accountable” moment over someone they disagree with.
I say this because too much of anything is bad. This is especially true for discussing ideas, thoughts, and ideologies online.
The moment someone has a thought that counters an “official narrative” they are vilified for breaking away from groupthink, “a phenomenon that occurs when a group of well-intentioned people makes irrational or non-optimal decisions spurred by the urge to conform or the belief that dissent is impossible,” Psychology Today writes.
“The problematic or premature consensus that is characteristic of groupthink may be fueled by a particular agenda—or it may be due to group members valuing harmony and coherence above critical thought.”
The problem with groupthink is that it’s realistically impossible for one to share the exact same ideologies, thoughts, or norms as the people that they surround themselves with. Even if it is just a miniscule dissenting thought, people should appreciate unique points of views or ways of life.
If it is not physically harming another human being, people should be able to say what is on their mind anytime. I of course would advocate to have some common sense when they do, but in general it is healthy to not think like everyone else.
If we were all the same, this world or country would remain stagnant. We were all made different, with diverse backgrounds and childhood experiences that make us who we are. That is the beauty in life.
Regardless, “cancel culture” tends to threaten the ability to be ourselves. And what’s worse is that the people who would consider themselves liberal or bias-free are the ones who seem to stifle thinking openly and critically.
This is especially true in politics and religion. The latest definition of being liberal is to be “willing to respect or accept behavior or opinions different from one’s own; open to new ideas.”
Most people who are intellectually honest would have the ability to reason with this statement. The same group that wants people to advocate for immigrants and minorities are not so tolerant when someone presents them a different viewpoint here in America.
If the conversation goes too much in a different direction than they’re used to, you face the risk of being shunned or lumped into groups you have no affiliation with for even sharing some of the same sentiments.
This happens even if you don’t consider yourself “conservative” or right leaning. Terms such as “right-wing talking points” and “you sound like a Trumper” have been parroted within the culture.
They have been meant to shut down any open and honest discourse or efforts to reach across the political aisle. At some point this gets tiring and will leave the liberals bare, without allies, and stuck in their echo chambers hating anyone who does not think like them.
Every disagreement or perceived slight should not be led to trying to deplatform people online or “cancel” them. At the bare minimum, this is an immature and ugly thought-process to have because it implies that only the liberal way of thinking and doing things is acceptable.
It can be a hard pill to swallow, but most of us reading this are far too grown and far too knowledgeable to believe there is only one way of doing things.
This cancel culture practice has been common on social media feeds like Twitter where people will heavily criticize a tweet stating an unpopular opinion.
While I appreciate that my generation, and the ones behind us, take such pride in trying to protect humanity and defending others from bigotry, racism, etc., what you may find as “mean” or “offensive” is subjective.
Rather than just scrolling by or trying to engage in a healthy conversation, these types of people will try to outcast or “ratio” someone for not believing what they believe.
This type of behavior is unhealthy. You will drive yourself insane trying to be the defender of what is good in this universe and it’s not a job for just one person.
While movements like the “Me Too” movement were obviously needed, canceling ordinary people unwarranted. Sometimes it’s okay to let others think what they think and leave well enough alone.
Society can take things too far without thinking about the repercussions of what we allow to happen.
I understand the social good people attempt to do when they try to intervene or publicly shame others for doing something reprehensible, but not knowing where to draw the line is causing more harm than good.
Attempting to police other people’s thoughts and minds because you do not agree can easily become narcissistic.
In this day and age, anything can become a cancel culture movement so keep that in mind while engaging with others. Everyone has a turn at the chopping block so have grace for the way other people think.