What’s this cancel culture all about?

I was talking to my good mate, Colin, about how we feel when people cancel at the last minute. This form of cancelling has nothing to do with ‘cancel culture’. I decided my reaction to people cancelling has more to do with me than them. But that for another time.

‘Cancel culture’ is when someone becomes ostracised from their group, a platform or even society. They can be thrown out in person, online or on social media. Their career, position or power has been revoked. 

I like how Aja Romano describes it; ‘At its best, cancel culture has been about rectifying power imbalances and redistributing power to those who have little of it. Instead, it now seems that the concept may have become a weapon for people in power to use against those it was intended to help’. They have been cancelled and you no longer need to examine your own reactions to them. It’s becoming toxic.

Good people make stupid comments. I know I do. If I was a famous person I have no doubt there would be several thoughtless comments that would have made me a part of the cancel culture. I have a 17 year daughter who constantly shows me how ‘old’ and ‘dated’ my comments are. Things like saying I got ‘retarded’ when I had too much to drink. A stupid comment that should not be said.

I might say; ‘that’s so gay’. Again, not ok. Old school comments that I got used to saying until I was re-educated and reminded that words matter.

I’m not looking for forgiveness. That’s my job for me. I am looking for us to rise up with compassion. To even get curious about the comments they make. What if someone is opposed to getting vaccinated? Have you really listened and sat in their shoes or have you cancelled them a little? If someone has different political views from you; Have you just defended yours and cancelled them or have you got curious about why they lean that way?

With so many opportunities to shun people these days I think we are called to understand. And not go straight to cancel. Who is someone you decided to wipe? Work or life?

Cancelling increases shame and blame. 

Inclusion increases compassion and community.

It’s your call.

PS – If you loved this then you might just be super keen to learn about our kickarse culture program ‘Working as One’. Send me a note if you’d like to have a chat.