Can we cancel ‘canceled culture’?

If you’ve been on the internet for at least a day, chances are you’ve heard of someone being “canceled.” Canceling someone entails no longer supporting that person or their craft, and can also result in people losing their jobs.

 Sometimes it’s for something serious, like when Roseanne Barr compared Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to former President Barack Obama, to an ape. But more often than not, people are being canceled for small mistakes that all humans make at some point.

This “canceled culture” breeds an overwhelming sense of uneasiness where people are afraid to make mistakes or afraid of mistakes they made years ago.

The most recent example of this is comedian Kevin Hart — he stepped down as this year’s Academy Awards host after tweets and comments made almost 10 years ago. The comments were homophobic and deplorable — whether they were jokes or not, they weren’t funny. But Hart apologized in a sincere manner and made a genuine plea for forgiveness and said that he is a changed person.

So, should Hart be vilified for the rest of his career for these comments? I disagree with what he said as much as the next person, but it’s important to give people another chance when they make a genuine effort to do better. If we don’t allow room for some mistakes, how are people supposed to learn? Education is the weapon against ignorance and people have to be shown what they’ve done and how they can be better.

Sometimes people apologize for the sake of saving face and they don’t do so well *cough, Kevin Spacey, cough.* It’s worth noting when someone does own up to their mistakes without blaming other people and showing a drive to do better.

There are actions that don’t deserve forgiveness, but the comments that Kevin Hart made are not as serious as actual crimes being committed, and by focusing so much on what someone said a decade ago, we lose sight on what is happening in the present. Hart should not have to face more repercussions than someone like R. Kelly, who has been accused of running an underage sex cult. Both actions are horrible, but it’s safe to say one is worse than the other and only one person — the wrong person — is facing the consequences.

Celebrities are human, too — they make mistakes. If we cancel someone after every mistake they make, there will be no one left. We’ve all said or done stupid things that we wouldn’t do now because we’ve changed. The only difference is that maybe our mistakes don’t live forever on the internet. Imagine losing your job today for something you said in high school — imagine how ridiculous that would feel.

There’s nothing stopping any random person on the internet from exposing another, whether they be famous or not.

People can choose to cancel whomever they’d like but if you’re looking for a flawless person with no baggage, it’s not going to happen. People need to establish boundaries on what they can and cannot accept in a person, but no one is going to be mistake-free.

This trend is just that — a trend, but it can have very negative effects on someone’s life. We all make small mistakes and don’t deserve to pay for them for the rest of our lives. When we fail, we learn and then we don’t make those mistakes again. We just have to let somethings go and accept when people genuinely want to do better, and help them succeed in that process.

Olivia Malick, UP managing editor

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UP illustration by Olivia Malick

 

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