Lens Of The People: Cancel Culture is a term that has been picking up a lot of steam online as of late

Good Afternoon, readers! Lens of The People is a column dedicated to the capture of the real-life scenarios and events of the local Houston area, whilst also giving the thoughts and opinions of the Houston community, itself, its own voice to speak through.

Cancel culture is a term that has been picking up a lot of steam online as of late, and while the concept itself isn’t new, many people have sparked debates over the validity of it all. In case you didn’t know, cancel culture is, in essence the “cancelling” of a certain person or group that is typically famous and has recently exhibited unethical behavior on social or ethical matters. The latest example of this would be R. Kelly, who’s been completely canceled by thousands of people online in response to his numerous sexual assault allegations. The question I have this week is not about the celebrity, however, but the concept of cancel culture itself: Do you feel as though cancel culture is a necessity? Why or why not? Here’s what the people had to say:

“I feel like cancel culture is necessary. We need to hold people, especially people in power, accountable for their actions. The only bust about it is either people don’t do their research before they choose to cancel or they have all of the facts laid out for them and still choose to keep people in power on their pedestal, which only enables them to continue their reckless behavior. I feel like every time cancelling someone is brought up, we’re either extremely progressive and quick to cancel because the receipts are laid out (as we should!) or we want to blame anybody but the perpetrator because of denial and the impact they’ve made in our lives—especially in the Black community. Innovation is not an excuse to let a creepy uncle have a seat at the kid’s table. Impact is not a valid reason to ridicule victims and ignore their stories. Get it together, society!” – Janaya Britton

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“In my opinion, cancel culture was necessary at the time it originated because it allowed the community to hold people accountable for their actions. Cancel culture is all about choosing who you will give your energy, money and support to. In my opinion, cancel culture in some cases can be effective and result in real life consequences. There are people among us that absolutely need to be held accountable for their actions and should no longer receive the support of the community or consumers. The trend of canceling someone is not as effective outside of social media and towards non-celebrities, and because of this, cancelling someone for their past actions and not wanting to have anything to do with them may be more detrimental than beneficial, however, because just flat out cancelling someone can lead to the idea that that person or group can never change and stifle them forever.” – Kenyera L.

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“Everyone is sort of a hypocrite when it comes to these topics. For example, people are choosing just  now to cancel R. Kelly now that it’s being popularized, but were silent 10 years ago when people were coming out. People didn’t care as much as they do now until the “Me Too” movement became the new trend for them. So I think that the whole cancel culture thing is just another wave that will pass when people stop talking about it.” – Megan B.

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“Cancel culture is important because it perpetuates the idea of taking ownership and/or responsibility for one’s actions. It instills the feeling of obligation to always do the right thing and remain unproblematic in the mind of our heroes and icons. Any form of crossing those boundaries are swiftly met with the cancellation of said icon from the minds of many. No idol wishes to endure the fall from grace, so this is necessary to provide checks and balances within the court of public opinion.” – Prince Ibe

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I don’t really pay much attention to it. Honestly, many people’s attention spans are so short nowadays, and they forget about serious issues once the next big thing the media wants us to know about surfaces. They just start reacting to that instead, while completely ignoring whatever it was that had them irritated to begin with. I just don’t think it will last.” – Michael Temple

Photographer’s Thoughts

Unfortunately, while I do see and understand the benefits of cancel culture, such as holding the rich and famous accountable for their actions, I don’t agree with cancel culture as a whole because for one, I don’t believe that it inspires real change. And by that I mean that because of how the concept of ‘cancel culture’ originated, that being on social media, it doesn’t prompt people to take real action. It simply raises awareness. And I don’t believe it to necessarily be a lack of resolve or integrity on the viewers’ part, but that the very nature of social media has conditioned consumers to be used to tragedy. In the same vain, someone can hear about death in the news and still go on about their day. It’s not that they don’t care, but there’s not a whole lot they can do about it, and if there is, the solution isn’t being advertised. I believe that if social media users promoted solutions to problems rather than simply discussing the problem over and over, we would see change. But social media, as it is right now, makes me believe that it is merely a place to amass information, rather than a place to actively gain an understanding on it, which is why I feel that cancel culture is, in and of itself, counterproductive.

This was Lens of The People, a column dedicated to giving the Houston community a voice and a platform. Stay on the lookout for more, all made possible by The Forward Times!