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Cancel Culture

We’ve seen Cancel Culture take over our World recently with the halt of Dr. Suess books being published because of racist images, the longtime host of The Bachelor being replaced after making racially insensitive comments just to name a few people or subjects who have dealt with being ‘Canceled.’ But how does this Cancel Culture affect us, especially with the growing desire to cancel someone or something?

“You’re Cancelled” has been a popular phrase hurled at public figures and organizations when someone feels that they’ve done something wrong. But how far is too far? If you’ve been online, you’ve probably seen how someone or something is getting canceled. Whether for a past action, current remark, or changes impacting the future. The idea, even the threat, of so-called Cancel Culture has been a hot topic this year. And it’s raising concerns about how far is too far.

Karen Armstrong is the Director of Inclusion, Equity and Diversity for Penn State Outreach and Online Education. She says these conversations, even well intentioned ones, can devolve into a case where people simply stop working with one another, but the final outcome doesn’t always end that way. Armstrong adding: “I don’t feel that Cancel Culture is so definitive. Six months later that person is right back again, and so I wonder if it is even really cancelling, or if its more that people are put on pause to really reflect on what they’ve done or said.”

She says hitting the pause button allows for people to be receptive to different trains of thought, and that’s how she says that we as a society can move forward. Armstrong saying: “From my perspective what I have seen is that the whole point is for people to stop and pause and so typically it might be six months, nine months, a year, for some people a little longer where the stop and they reflect, and they come back and say I’ve realized what I’ve done or what I’ve said is wrong and harmful, and I’ve learned from that.”

Armstrong added that she believes the opportunities for dialogue and education are key to finding common ground.

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