Cancel culture vs. accountability culture

By Sara Horan
July 12, 2021

Within the past few years, the word “canceled” has become an extremely common word. Although we might have heard it a lot in regards to the coronavirus with the world shutting down and various event cancellations, the word has been given a new meaning.

 Cancel culture is a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles. This can occur online, on social media or in person.

Many people, characters, books, movies, TV shows, names, etc. have been a part of the toxic online trend,  Dr. Suess, J.K Rowling, Dumbo, Peter Pan, and The Aristocats are just a few examples of things that have been canceled within the past year. There are all valid reasons as to why these celebrities, movies, and books have fallen into the cancel culture category. I will not defend any of these stereotypical characters, movies or books that have created  streotypical characters along with racial or demeaning phrases these people have said.In the year 2021 there simply are no excuses, However many of the examples I have listed were created in a time when these issues were not recognized. Younger generations do view these movies and books so it may be best to “cancel” them but I do think its also best to take a second and celebrate how far our country has come in terms of a sterotypical book or a movie not being allowed to be created in our country today.

The popular Disney film ‘The Aristocats” was released in 1970. In March of 2021 it was recognized that the film contained a racist depiction of one of the alley cats. The cat is depicted as a racist caricature of East Asian peoples with exaggerated stereotypical traits such as slanted eyes and buck teeth. The Aristocats have officially been canceled and are no longer available to watch on any streaming services.

America has also created an accountability culture. The partners of leadership explain that in the culture of accountability, people at every level of the organization are personally committed to achieving key results targeted by the team or organization. Accountability culture recognizes the wrongdoings of whoever or whatever has been offensive or demeaning to our society. 

 I like the idea of an accountability culture rather than a cancel culture unless it is clear that a person committed a demeaning act on purpose. America is so quick to find information on people and tear down their whole reputation in seconds. Many of us still have a lot of learning to do in this world and cannot recognize what might be offensive and what may not. Instead of being so quick to cancel someone I much rather like the idea of addressing the issue directly with person and then addressing their mistakes and teaching them why that behavior is unacceptable and then let them apologize and just expect to never see that behavior again.  As I said, although there are valid reasons for the cancel culture. I just feel that we need to come together as a society and address issues that have been faced and teach people why their actions are unacceptable rather than just shut them out. 

 In 2021, it is truly acceptable for anyone to put themselves in a position to even be canceled. Although, I do believe that the cancel culture is a rather harsh way to handle the many misconducts that have been done, I do think that it has taught people the consequences that they can easily face by creating something that has the possibility to offend someone. 

I feel that there is just no good reason to cancel anything or anyone who did not understand their actions at the time were wrong. Our job as a society is to teach others whats wrong and why its wrong if it cannot be recognized. We should not be so quick to shut others down and cancel them along with their reputation but to hold them accountable so they never make the same mistakes again.

Cancelled Culture“Cancelled Culture” by wiredforlego is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Aristocats“Aristocats” by Hutson H is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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Sara Horan

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