Calling out Evils or Punishing Dissent? The American Cancel Culture
Canceling, usually associated with the “Cancel Culture” on social media, refers to ostracizing, shunning, or boycotting someone for speaking or doing something unacceptable.
According to the Pew Research Center, Americans perceive the “Cancel Culture” differently based on their political affiliations, from calling out someone for improper behavior and censoring someone for having a different opinion to pure malice.
Nevertheless, canceling was initially an effective tool for punishing powerful and influential people, usually celebrities and politicians, who were beyond the reach of the conventional justice system.
Some high-ranking individuals, such as R Kelly, Bill Cosby, and Harvey Weinstein, were initially canceled and later convicted for the same or related crimes.
However, the Left evidently hijacked the movement and used it as a tool to punish anybody with a different political opinion. Canceling can now happen for trivial reasons, such as mispronouncing someone’s name or failing to address them by forcing self proclaimed pronouns upon the many.
According to New York Times journalist Jonah Engel Bromwich, ‘everyone is canceled (PayWalled)’ for one reason or another.
Additionally, tech companies and big businesses capitalized on the movement, transforming it from simple online trolling to real-life crackdown on innocent people whose only crime was having different socio-political opinions. Subsequently, canceling transformed into coordinated de-platforming, such that a ban on one online platform, such as Twitter (v1; prior to Musk), results in banishment from others, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
Sometimes, de-platforming extends to other crucial businesses, for example, payment processors such as PayPal, online marketplaces such as Airbnb, and even physical banks such as Bank of America. Sadly, these companies often did not follow due process and often did not allow individuals to defend themselves. The target is usually found guilty in the court of public opinion without any due process. Unfortunately, bad news travels fast, and a single click of a button could irreparably harm individuals’ reputations or businesses.
While online trolling is the most common form of canceling, it could also be as subtle as shadow banning on social media or unexplained problems at the bank. Such individuals only realize they have been canceled when their transactions fail for some obscure reason or notice a drop in online following or viewership.
In September 2022, senior Republican Senate Banking Committee member Senator Pat Toomey warned banks against embracing the cancel culture through Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) policies that have subtly blacklisted certain businesses from financial institutions. ESGs have seen large banks, such as Bank of America and Citigroup, limiting financial services for gun manufacturers and oil drilling companies.
“I can’t help but observe that when banks do weigh-in on highly charged social and political issues, they seem to always come down on the liberal side,” Sen. Toomey said.
Unsurprisingly, various legislators have called for the regulation of tech companies because of their immense power and ability to subvert democracy.
Canceling started as a social movement to fight injustice in society. It targeted the “high and mighty” who were beyond the justice system’s reach. However, the movement was quickly hijacked and became a tool for punishing individuals with different opinions.
the movement spread to real life with real-life consequences for individuals
who have not been adjudicated guilty in a court of law.
Feel free to post examples of Cancel Culture actions below; if possible, try to site/link support to such actions.
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