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Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

Cancel culture goes too far

The age of social media reveals how people address issues with unsubstantiated accusations.
Photo source: The Talon

Cancel culture, according to Merriam-Webster, is the practice or tendency of engaging in mass canceling as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure; the ostracization of public figures challenges society to reconsider the fairness of this type of judgment. 

The act of canceling has been a means of calling out individuals, especially celebrities, to remove them from their status and esteem. However, what began as an expression to highlight questionable behavior has escalated into public shaming by the media. While cancel culture serves as a mechanism for accountability, it is potentially unfair and detrimental to the people involved. 

According to a Social Science Research Network report, nearly 40% of Americans today hold back expressing their beliefs for “fear of reprisal.” Cancel culture creates self-censoring for people who fear being “canceled” and torn down by the public. Individuals should feel empowered to express their opinions without fear of persecution; however, the nature of cancel culture constantly reminds people of the potential repercussions for offending public opinion. 

With the growing popularity of technology, cancel culture operates in social media platforms where mob mentality dominates. Here, facts are spread rapidly and out of proportion in a matter of hours, creating an environment where users favor condemnation over empathy. With the anonymity of online communities, people feel more comfortable engaging in deprecation, especially if everyone else is doing the same. It is human nature to “go with the flow,” and this confirmation bias makes it difficult for individuals to evaluate or oppose certain viewpoints. This often leads to people taking things too far for people that don’t deserve it. 

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For example, in 2022, Lindsay Ellis, a successful content creator, was canceled for posting a tweet comparing Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon” to the series “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” where she was accused of contributing to anti-Asian hate crimes. Canceling is a good way to bring public attention to people who commit actual heinous crimes like sexual predating, homophobia or assault but not to hold creators whose content only exists to entertain accountable. 

Not only that, accusations alone are enough to condemn a person, regardless of the lack of evidence or validity of the claims. Take American actor Johnny Depp for instance. He was canceled in 2016 when accusations of abuse came out, ruining his career and public image until the defamation trial in 2022 that ruled in his favor. “It takes one sentence and there’s no more ground,” Depp says to the Deadline

The consequences of cancel culture serve as a stark reminder of the need for a better approach to accountability in our society. Social media has changed the way we convey opinions and how we exaggerate unnecessary expressions. Instead of putting our energy into detrimental actions, it’s better to think of ways that will create positive change instead of feeding negative causes.

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About the Contributor
Rylyn Wang, Feature editor
Hi my name is Rylyn Wang, I'm in the 10th grade, and I'm the Feature editor for The Hoofprint. Outside of The Hoofprint, I am in several clubs. In my free time, I enjoy reading and scrolling through my phone.
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