To cancel or not to cancel? That is the question. Public figures have increasingly confabulated “cancel culture” or been “canceled” themselves in recent years. Bill Cosby? Canceled. Harvey Weinstein? Canceled.
And it’s not just criminal offenders. Everyone from Billy Bush to Chrissy Teigen and Billie Eilish has been subject to “cancellation” based on past mistakes or actions, ranging from accusations of bullying, misogyny, racism, and more.
The political right has maligned “cancel culture,” lamenting what they perceive as the left seeking political correctness over minor missteps.
But when we say “cancel,” what do we actually mean? If we mean someone should be held accountable, shouldn’t we say that instead?
Experts say referring to “cancel culture” as “accountability culture” would help hold people accountable for their wrongdoings – but actions speak louder than words. And altering the term comes with consequences of its own – doing, so bows to pressure from those misusing it in the first place.AP
The phrase has been traced back to the 1980s, in a song by the band Chic. Lyrics reference a breakup and being “canceled” as something that would happen to people in a relationship, according to Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, dean’s professor and chair of political science and international relations at the University of Southern California.
A part of Black culture, the phrase grew to symbolize a particular kind of accountability. Social media’s rise and a constantly changing barometer for acceptable, appropriate behavior and language have inspired more “canceling” than ever before.
From Chrissy Teigen to Joe Manchin: How to cancel culture has further divided America Cancel culture may have recently grown in popularity due to social media, but it started way before Twitter existed. Find out how everyone from Chrissy Teigen to politicians like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Joe Manchin has been affected.