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“Cancel” culture: should it exist?

Illustration: Carter Klassen · The Sentry

Yes, celebrities are influencers

Opinion by Zoë Sackett

“Cancel” culture has become a pinnacle of various social media platforms and has led to an environment that many regard as toxic as it leaves very little room for celebrities, who are after all just people, to make any type of mistake. However,  it is important to think critically about the impact a celebrity platform can have before it can be decided that cancel culture is bad.

In a world in which political correctness is becoming increasingly prevalent, many people have recognized the importance of having a space to learn from mistakes and grow. Nobody’s perfect, so instead, people should use their platform to educate and inform others so that these mistakes don’t happen again. However, this space cannot be at the expense of those of marginalized identities. 

If a public figure does something problematic, be it racist, homophobic, transphobic, or participating in cultural appropriation, the space they take up while being re-educated is much more pervasive and can be quite emotionally exhausting for those within a marginalized identity to constantly be surrounded by—the incident becomes sensationalized and can sometimes trend on social media.

For example,  when Ariana Grande got a tattoo in what many people believed appropriated Japanese culture, many people defended her, saying she had an appreciation for Japanese culture, while others found the tattoo ignorant. 

It is incidents like this where this safe space can become tiresome for people who feel personally offended to feel pressured to constantly defend their cultural background. For those who it doesn’t affect as deeply, while it can be fun to debate, especially in a more nuanced conversation like those about Grande, this is often done at the expense of others’ feelings. 

Should public figures be held to higher standards than your average person? They are, after all, highly influential and frequently become young people’s role models. With this status, celebrities have an obligation to think twice about their actions and the repercussions that could harm already marginalized communities. If unconcerned or unaware of this responsibility, perhaps it isn’t too terrible to “cancel” these celebrities.          

No, celebrities make mistakes too

Opinion by Isaiah Mancha

“Cancel” culture has become an overwhelming wave of “She/He said this; therefore, cancelled.” From social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and conveniently for the most part, Twitter, today’s modern age has become sensitive from the doings and sayings of the celebrities. 

According to the First Amendment of the Constitution, individuals can express themselves and their honest opinion without interference or regulation. So why is it that celebrities are still blatantly being called out and, sometimes, consequentially losing their career when it is a given privilege stated in history?

Celebrities can and will have opinions, and that is their right. But their opinion, however, can also be wrong. Even though they have a right to their wrong opinions, they don’t need to be cancelled. Kanye West, for example, in the past year has been exploited for his opinions and associations with POTUS. He has been at the center of being “cancelled” and “not cancelled” because of his own opinion and beliefs. He is a human, like others, with reasoning and right to speak what is on his mind.

It’s also much easier for social media users to attack one’s opinion rather than understand where they are coming from. A lot of people are quick to attack celebrities and cancel them without giving them a chance to explain themselves. Tweets on various issues, such as those toward the LGBTQ community made by Kevin Hart back in the day and have been resurfaced, have become substantial in the recent years. Granted, these issues are still prevalent and controversial, and time doesn’t excuse his comments; however, Hart has acknowledged his mistake and apologized to those he offended and yet still received backlash for refusing to apologize again for something he has tried to move past.

The opponent argues the question on whether or not celebrities should be held to higher standards since they are inspirational role models, especially toward kids and young adults. It is an agreeable concept; however, they should not be held to higher standards because they are like any other person who makes mistakes and learns from them, and in the end, they can do better for the future. 

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