By: Skylar Ribotsky
Somewhere over the past two years, “cancel culture” has become the norm. When it comes out that a public figure has done something frowned upon or immoral, those who subscribe to “cancel culture’s” first instinct is to ‘cancel’ said, individual. Now, when they say ‘cancel’ they mean withdrawing support for that individual on social media as well as a group form of shaming.
Now when it began, it was mostly with celebrities for things that weren’t huge, and one could argue that it was somewhat comical because those individuals weren’t really affected by these attempts to cancel them. Now, we here at The Ribotsky Institute, are not saying that some people didn’t deserve it, but the vast majority of Americans who made mistakes, do not deserve to have their entire lives outed on social media and have to deal with the public ridicule that is ‘cancel culture’. The truth of the matter is we have all made mistakes, but because these people are in the public eye, they deserve to be “cancelled?”
There is something inherently dangerous there. You see, what does cancelling said person do? When you “cancel” someone they don’t exactly just fall off the face of the Earth, in case you weren’t aware of that. So now what we are left with is people who yes probably made a mistake or said something that they shouldn’t have, but that person still exists.
So, while “cancel culture” may seem fun, sending people death threats and telling people they should take their lives based on a mistake they made is an incredibly dangerous reality. The idea that the public and majority of people are so quick to jump on this “cancel culture” bandwagon when the alternative would be to actually educate said person for their mistakes and allow them to learn and grow seems confusing.
What is even more disturbing is the level of “cancel culture” we have now reached in this country is so much more dangerous than the cancellation of those individuals. In recent weeks, we have seen an outcry from the public for a need for change and we are more divided than ever in this country. While the need for change when it comes to the systematic issues we face as a country such as racial issues, religious persecution and intolerance are long overdue, the solution cannot be ‘cancel culture’.
Everyone has to realize that our history as American citizens, has not always been a correct or pretty one. You know this messy thing we call Democracy, allows us everything we know, and we fail to realize how bad it truly could be. The fact that “cancel culture” has now become cancelling our history is much more dangerous than anything we have ever faced before. Tearing down and vandalizing statues of American figures, whether you feel they are heroes or not, is wrong, and is the destruction of federal property.
Not to mention, getting rid of our history because it is not favourable for a specific group of people, does no good whatsoever. As we stated, there is no negating that our history is incredibly messy and as Americans, we were not always on the right side of history. The thing everyone seems to forget is what our flag actually stands for. Our flag represents the citizens of all walks of life who make up this great country. Wasn’t that the whole idea behind the events leading up to becoming the greatest democracy in the world? It is sad that we want to trample on the history that got us here. Was it all correct and did we always do the right thing, no of course not. But what makes us different is the fact that we can support any group we want. Say anything we want and be free from prosecution or censorship about it. That is what it means to be free and live in a truly free society. In case you all have not noticed the thing that allows you to protest is the actual democracy you are protesting. How is that for irony.
You see, whether or not I agree with your political view, your support for this group or that group, I do realize the fundamental law that allows you to have your view. It is the same group of laws that allows me to have mine. I do not want to see you persecuted for your view anymore that I want to see myself persecuted for it. I do not want to be “cancelled” and I do not want to “cancel” you. I respect your view even if I do not have the same one. I also respect your right to have your view, even though I may not agree with it.
We have become a much more polarized society which has become so much more divided by racism, opposite political views, as well as, bitter and wrongful ways to disrespect one another daily. A great author, expert on feminism and racism, Loretta Ross stated not long ago “Are we evolving or devolving in our ability to handle conflicts?” Which was asked of all of us in the wake of the detrimental punishment people have given others in “calling” people out. This is the initial precursor to what has become “cancel culture” that started with the rise of the #metoo movement.
The unfortunate issues surrounding “cancel culture” is what started out as a way for people to ostracize someone who did the wrong thing and possibly abused their power or even worse hurt other people, but instead, it has evolved to be a way for others to gang up on one another. It has become as some have put it “toxic”. Instead of building a bridge between different groups or different ideologies “cancel culture” preaches public abuse and bullying.
Yet again the irony is apparent since we preach to the world, most especially our children not to bully one another. Yet we are letting everyone bully each other and then we blame a group or political party for it. We do need to heal as a country and certain thing should never be tolerated. That does not allow us to hurt one another and “cancel” people just because we do not like how they acted or disagree with their statements.
There is an inherent danger in getting rid of our history, and we urge everyone to understand how dangerous doing so would be. If we do not learn about this history as brutal as it is, we make it ok for history to repeat itself and we do a disservice to the people who not only experienced our history but who gave their lives in order to secure our way of life.