On the 19th of April, we held our deliberation on the topic of cancel culture. We would consider this a success because of how engaged the entire class seemed to be. Not only were they willing to answer each question provided to them, but it would sometimes be hard to find a place in the conversation to switch questions and begin a new branch of the topic.
We began the conversation by asking everyone the first person that came to mind when they thought of cancel culture. We then asked if they thought any particular industry was more notable for canceling people. Throughout the deliberation, there was a much heavier focus on celebrities than any other industry. This may have been because of the waves of celebrities who have been canceled, but it could also be because we were speaking to college-aged students. There was a lot of discussion surrounding celebrities who had been canceled multiple times but faced little to no repercussions and how they compared to celebrities who only had to be canceled once for their career to go sideways.
The end of our deliberation brought around the social change aspect of cancel culture. We discussed how cancel culture was initially a good way to put people with platforms in the spotlight when they did something wrong, rather than simply brushing it under the rug. However, as time passed, cancel culture has become significantly less serious and is now joked about as a throw-away comment of, “oh, I hope I don’t get canceled for this.” Our class discussed how there should still be a way of holding people responsible for their actions, but it now needs to be separated from being “canceled” because of its lack of weight now.
The feedback we received from the class was that in our current time, cancel culture can be very biased in some occasions. There are multiple examples of “canceled” people who have been unfairly treated by the media for minor offenses or even for just disagreeing with them. Many brought up how social media sometimes unjustly cancels people and that should be avoided. On the other side of the spectrum, there are people who should be canceled but still have huge platforms solely because of power and money. The class agreed that this needs to change. Cancel culture should be something that actually brings social change and not be considered a light-hearted internet joke.
There was some contrasting opinions to cancel culture. Some people argued that cancel culture should not be enforced at all. They brought up that we should let people live and not harass them for past mistakes. However, most of the class agreed that there are offenses that should not be forgiven. People believe that it is important to completely deplatform someone who has committed unforgivable offenses, especially crimes. Most agreed that society should hold others accountable for what they have done. No matter who you are, celebrity, politician or a regular individual.
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