Stop ‘cancelling’ people, help them learn

by Angela Rojo, Contributor

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You’re cancelled.” 

This might be one of the most feared phrases in 2018, especially if you’re someone with a large platform. 

“Cancelled” is one of the newest terms to be added to the social-media-slang dictionary. 

It’s taken a whole new definition to the word we knew before. 

According to Urban Dictionary, cancelled i “to dismiss something or somebody; to reject an individual or an idea.” 

Essentially, this practice encourages a community to blackball, isolate and shun an individual from society.

This could mean by no longer purchasing their music or art, supporting them or talking about them at all.

2018 has been a big year for “cancel culture.” 

It seems as though every month, a new person is targeted and thrown a “# (insert name of ‘canceled’ celebrity here)  isoverparty.” 

Some of the most notable examples from this year would be former Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, the beauty guru Laura Lee, actress Rowan Blanchard, rapper Kanye West and most recently Kelvin Peña, aka Brother Nature. 

Although “cancelling” is proven to  be one of the more popular practices in social media, the implications and consequences are actually quite problematic.

Here’s why:

1. Everyone makes mistakes, so does that mean we should cancel everyone? 

There’s this idea, particularly throughout social media that everyone, especially celebrities, should be perfect, and make no mistakes, and if they do, they should be “cancelled.” 

Instead of dismissing them forever and denying them the opportunity to learn, we should be more willing to educate them about what they did and why it was wrong. 

The thing is, people grow up with different contexts, and not everyone is raised with the same values and knowledge. 

They could have grown up during a time when jokes were edgier, or they could be from communities with different standards of what constitutes as offensive behavior.

So perhaps they never learned why saying or doing certain things are not socially acceptable to everyone. 

That’s why we can help by educating them about it.

2.  Realize that people change.

Brother Nature is a young man who rose to fame via the internet after videos of him casually hanging out with and feeding animals went viral.

Recently,  problematic tweets from Brother Nature’s twitter account surfaced. 

However, these tweets date back all the way from 2011 to 2012.  

Let’s be honest, many people have done or said things that were ignorant and wrong in the past, but sometimes they mature and realize why their actions

were wrong. 

Cancelling a person because of their past behavior, instead of who they are now, doesn’t make sense. 

Remember, people change and learn from their mistakes.

3. Stop throwing their mistakes in their face.

When groups of people collectively decide to cancel someone on Twitter, they often hope that the “cancelee” will acknowledge their mistakes and apologize. 

However, once they do that, they are immediately ambushed with tweets calling them and their apology fake. 

People accuse them of just apologizing because they were caught, or an attempt to try to save their career. 

Maybe this is the case, but honestly, what else could they do? 

They’ve apologized. They’ve learned from it. 

Isn’t this the ending that everyone wants?

However, even after the “cancelee” apologizes and it seems like everyone moved on, there are still people who throw the cancelled person’s mistakes right back in their face.

They continue to use it against them, even if they show signs of improvement. 

The whole concept tries to eliminate “problematic people” while the practice is problematic itself, it’s a paradox.

Ultimately,  it’s important not to dismiss people, but instead, educate them. 

Realize that people change and grow.

Stop throwing people’s mistakes back in their face after they’ve apologized and shown obvious signs of growth and improvement.

Angela Rojo is a freshman studying journalism.

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