By Olivia Bokesch
WHAT IS CANCEL CULTURE?
One of the biggest buzzwords as of late is “cancel culture.” Cancel culture is the “cancelling” or denouncement of certain people, organizations, and events due to bigoted actions in the form of racism, misogyny, homo/transphobia, and the like. The act of cancelling someone has increased over the past year; a lot of the time taking the form of boycotting product created, sold, or marketed by the cancelled someone. People either love it or they hate it, but at the very least, cancel culture forces the bigoted person to face and accept the consequences for their actions.
BUT WHAT IF THE PEOPLE INVOLVED APOLOGIZE?
Once a person is cancelled, apology and acceptance of said apology is a nuanced issue. Some will forgive the person and move on, while others will keep up their boycott. The quality, effectiveness, and sincerity of the apology can affect this choice. It is vital to take into account what is said in the apology (if one is issued at all). If the person apologizing pledges to quit supporting a certain problematic organization or taking part in a problematic event, see if they follow through on this promise.
For instance, the owner of the organization that runs Coachella, Philip Anschutz, was previously found to be donating to organizations with direct anti-LGBTQ+ community stances. This led to many people deciding not to attend Coachella. Anschutz released a statement regarding this, claiming to have always been an LGBTQ+ community supporter and promising to stop donating to these organizations. However, it came out later that although he had cut ties with the original anti-LGBTQ+ organizations, he was still donating to several others that had loose anti-LGBTQ+ ties. This shows why it is important to check if the person is following through and upholding statements made within their apology.
CALL-OUT CULTURE VS. CANCEL CULTURE
Many argue that call-out culture is the more effective and productive sister to cancel culture. Instead of simply cancelling the person and putting them on the black list immediately and indefinitely, calling out is a method that tells the person why they’re problematic, how they can fix their behavior, and gives them the opportunity to do so. Call-out culture can also have educational benefits as it allows the problematic person and their followers to learn and grow from mistakes and it decreases the hate and negativity that typically surrounds cancel culture.
Although, the argument for cancel culture comes into play when people commit heinous crimes such as those committed by R. Kelly and Woody Allen. Those who are pro-cancel culture state that it is important to publicly denounce and boycott these people to show that their behavior is unacceptable to the masses and that the person should not be rewarded or redeemed for their behavior.
DO YOUR RESEARCH AND FIND OTHER MEANS OF SUPPORT
In the end, deciding to boycott something or someone comes down to individual decision. Doing research on your own to learn all sides of the story and educating yourself on current events is essential to making choices on cancel culture and problematic people.
A lot of times, there are other ways to support a cause, type of music, person, etc. without supporting the problematic someone or something. In the case of Coachella, many still go to support their favorite queer artists. However, going to the artists’ own concerts or buying their albums are a better and more direct way to support them without supporting the problematic event that is Coachella. Finding other means of support is beneficial and still shows the problematic person that their actions are inexcusable.
Cancel culture is on-the-rise and shows no signs of stopping, so be sure to educate yourself on the issue with other articles like: