By: Kylie J.

The phrase “Cancel culture” has become increasingly popular in the last few years. And now the phrase is everywhere. But, you may be asking yourself what is the so-called Cancel culture? To start, the term is when a person says or does something controversial, and backlash follows. No one knows where exactly the term came from but one of the earliest pop culture references to someone being “canceled” was in 2014. During an episode of the reality show "Love and Hip-Hop: New York." Cisco Rosado, told his girlfriend Diamond Strawberry, "You're canceled," after they learned that she had a daughter.

The word then became popular with users on Twitter. But the word itself was used as a way to joke about a person's actions that you didn't agree with. It all started as a joke. Today, the word has taken over a whole new tone. Since the pandemic has started I believe that canceling someone has become a bigger thing. Due to more people being on the internet than there were before, people can watch more closely. So watching what you say online has become more of a bigger thing than, let's say, one year ago.

It seems that the term has become more mainstream as celebrities and huge brands have become the targets. Getting canceled doesn't depend on who you are but rather on how long you will remain canceled. People who do not have power are the ones more likely to face real consequences, while celebrities and people of power rarely are going to suffer from being canceled. At the end of the day they’re still going to be rich and they’re still going to have a platform.

Take, for example, Kanye West. He was very public in support of President Donald Trump during a time when people of different backgrounds and races have felt hurt by the President’s comments. But not only did he do this, West then went off and called slavery “a choice.”

West's comments went viral and many people did not seem to agree with what he was saying. So people certainly tried to cancel the rapper by not streaming his music and attacking his ideas. On the other hand, many other people still buy his shoes and stream his music, and it seems to be that Kanye was just too big to be canceled.

Kevin Hart was another celebrity that was affected by cancel culture. When some of his homophobic tweets resurfaced and caused an internet frenzy, he decided to drop out of hosting the 2019 Oscars. But after a short amount of time away from the spotlight, he arose again and continued getting movie roles and performing stand-up comedy.

For non famous people, a mistake caught on social media can follow them for years to come. In May of 2020, a white woman by the name of Amy Cooper went viral for calling the cops on a Black man who politely asked her to put a leash on her dog in a public park. When she refused to, he pulled out his phone and began to film. That's when the altercation happened. After the situation, the video was posted online and it soon went viral. Amy was fired from her job and temporarily surrendered her dog to a shelter after having been called out on her actions. These are just a few of the examples of cancel culture and how it has affected people today.

Many people think that ‘canceling’ someone isn't a bad thing but it's a conversation about somebody or something's problematic past that needs to be discussed and talked about. It's a call to be better. Because if you know better you can do better. “It’s a cultural boycott,” said Lisa Nakamura, a professor at the University of Michigan who studies digital media and race, gender, and sexuality. “It’s an agreement not to amplify, signal boost, give money to. People talk about the attention economy — when you deprive someone of your attention, you’re depriving them of a livelihood.”

But some people are totally against cancel culture. Psychologist and author of “How To Build A Healthy Brain,” Kimberley Wilson states, “Social media has democratized shaming, simultaneously expanding its reach, stripping away any mitigating or humanizing context, and leaving a permanent paper trail of what might have been a momentary indiscretion,” says Wilson. She believes one of the biggest mental health risks of canceling someone online is the “pile on.” “For the ‘canceled’ person it can feel as though they are being attacked by the whole world.” This is because within minutes thousands of people are verbally attacking the person.

The term cancel culture has inspired a variety of different opinions. Some people might believe that it has brought hate to the world, but others believe that it does not hate but calling a person out and holding them accountable for an issue. The argument between the different sides is quite controversial, but it seems like it's here to stay.


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