is cancel culture good?

I’m simply a student today, friends. Join me. If we studied more than we shouted, my sense is each of us would benefit. Hence, first, what is “cancel culture”? From

cancel culture

[ kan-suhl kuhl-cher ]

Cancel culture refers to the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. Cancel culture is generally discussed as being performed on social media in the form of group shaming.

Or the “top definition” from the more colloquial

Cancel Culture

A desire to cancel out a person or community from social media platforms.

It is characterized by the response of an evil individual when they are shown to be wrong. They will call on their followers to report the social media accounts of the person or group that did the criticizing rather than discussing the criticism or showing by evidence where the criticism is incorrect.

Narcissists make up the majority of the people who engage in cancel culture, and others who do this would include immature individuals.

When something is “cancelled,” it’s declared null and void. “Call-out culture” is a similar term.

The difference in contemporary usage is that a cancel culture is not focused on declaring a series or subscription null and void. It is canceling a person. From the dictionary once more, “In the latest use of the word, you can cancel people… anyone who takes up space in the public consciousness.”

Hence, the student asks again: is cancel culture good?

It certainly isn’t respectful, but does that matter? Or… is the mattering tied to effectiveness?

In the cultural moment before us, one of the aspects I personally find hopeful is that many are finally sitting with the pain of other people; they are recognizing their own perspective is incomplete. Each of our perspectives is incomplete. It seems many are recognizing that others don’t experience life the way they do. Such seems a God-honoring, healthy pursuit, and one that is always part of a wise one’s journey. 

As pondered here six months ago…

“My Hispanic neighbors across the street are consistently engaged in managing their business and chasing after their adorable, young children.

My gay friends on the corner take some glorious, fantastic vacations.

The married professionals next door are gone a lot; we don’t talk as much as any of us would like.

And the single, black mom down the block has an incredibly full plate.

Each of us experience the world differently. And that’s just on my small street.

What would happen if we actually took the time to listen to people who don’t experience the world the way we do?…”

My student sense is that positive cultural change is most lasting and effective if heart change is included. Yet individual hearts aren’t positively changed if simply declared null and void. What if, therefore, in this moment, each of us recognized we had something to learn? What if we each listened better? What if we became a student of one another instead of cancelers?

I continue from our previous post… 

“… when we don’t understand how another person can believe or behave the way they do, it is we who don’t understand. We don’t understand the realities of another and how they experience the world.

So if we are going to love our neighbor well, we need to listen and learn from others. If we are going to minimize the ignorance in our own lives, we need to ask good questions and seek to understand. We need to seek out and engage with those who are different than us… the citizens and immigrants, black and white, Democrats and Republicans, etc. Otherwise we are going to be guilty of discounting every bit of information that doesn’t fit perfectly in our current, narrow world view. We will only add to our own ignorance.

Let me be gently but boldly more clear: each of our world views are narrow. Each are incomplete…”

Let us thus listen and learn from all of the above… even when it’s hard… even when we don’t want to… even when cancelling would be easier and certainly more convenient. Let us love each of our neighbors well. Let us choose to be a student…