What Is Cancel Culture?

A California teacher was placed on administrative leave after a student captured a video of her mocking Native American and Indigenous culture earlier this month. According to CBS News, “The teacher, wearing what appears to be a plastic headband with paper cutout feathers to look like a headdress, is seen in videos jumping around the room screeching ‘SoCahToa,’ a shortened phrase for teaching trigonometry functions, and ‘tomahawk chopping.’”

The teacher was reprimanded by the media after a statement from one of her students was brought to light. “I felt that violence was committed against me, and I had the right to record,” said her Indigenous student.

According to Urban Dictionary, “Cancel Culture is a modern internet phenomenon where a person is ejected from influence or fame by questionable actions.”

Cancel Culture is prevalent on social media platforms following a scandal or major problem.

Several celebrities and influencers have been “cancelled” after being accused of something by a large group of people. According to Uban Dictionary, “It is caused by a critical mass of people who are quick to judge and slow to question. It is commonly caused by an accusation, whether that accusation has merit or not.”

Students have differing opinions on their definitions of cancel culture and its presence in today’s world.

“I think cancel culture is cancelling someone who goes against everyone else’s idea or opinion. I have not experienced it or known someone who has, I normally just see it online through celebrities,” said junior Alison Romansky.

People with large platforms and influence are most likely to be cancelled rather than regular social media users. Many students recalled instances where some of their favorite influencers were called out for past actions.

“I remember when super model Chrissy Teigan was cancelled after strings of direct messages surfaced between her and a teenager named Courtney Stodden. It wasn’t long after that Chrissy was cancelled and her reputation was ruined,” said junior Chloe Savino.

In an article in People Magazine, Chrissy Teigan reflected on her time after she was accused of bullying.

“Having this period of time to digest it all and to look back and to realize that honestly there is always so much time to grow and to learn and to become more empathetic,” said Chrissy Teigan.

Some students say that those who are reprimanded online should have a chance to better themselves and change their actions.

“I believe that as long as you are not physically or mentally hurting someone else, you should be forgiven if growth is shown. For example, if someone shows that they’ve grown and learned from their mistakes where they have hurt someone else or a group of people, they should be forgiven,” said junior Abby Ganzel.

However, other students say forgiveness is situational.

“I believe that it depends on what the person did if they should be forgiven or not, “said freshman Gabriella Berlingieri.

Many students have alternative phrases for cancel culture and say that being cancelled can happen to anyone.

“Cancel culture is also considered ‘call out culture’ because someone is being ostracized by the media and thrust off their platform,” said Berlingieri. “I also think people who are cancelled don’t have to be celebrities or people with large followings, it can be regular people too.”

In most cases, people who have been cancelled lose money, followers, jobs, or fame for their wrongdoings and mistakes.

Other students say that posting an individual’s actions online and publicly calling them out is not productive.

“I personally think that social media is not a good platform to call people out for their acts and I think it should be a private matter,” said freshman Sabrina Pesce.

Similarly, some students believe that cancel culture is wrong in the way that accusations can be potentially false.

“People who call others out on social media will sometimes do it to people they don’t even know which leaves room for interpretation and leads them to call people out for false pretenses,” said sophomore Alexia Amato.

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