By KOKETSO MOSELAKGOMO
“CANCEL culture” is what has now evolved into a modern-day mob justice. But instead of burning and stoning people in the streets, we have decided to completely incinerate their professional lives and social standing.
It was once a way for people to marginalise and seek accountability where the justice system failed. However, instead of using this power to effectively combat wrongdoing, address inequalities and demand social change, we seem to be more focused on who is sleeping with whom outside their marriage and then we destroy their lives for it.
A community that stands together and unites against a common injustice can be empowering, so why are we not using our impact to actively call for change in our communities and country? We overlook the ones that need to be “cancelled” and instead focus our energy on cancelling people for their personal mistakes, people whose stories are more often than not only one-sided.
How quickly do we ruin a career and discredit a character without having given that person and opportunity to explain or even learn from their mistake?
Now, there is a big difference between the “call out culture” and our now “cancel culture”. Initially the former was a means of calling attention to someone’s behavior and allowing them the opportunity to learn from it, but in the cancel culture the person is automatically labelled as bad and therefore guilty without even being given the chance to plead his case or present his defence in the court of public opinion.
Unfortunately, when the social media mob deems you as “bad”, yours is to simply forget giving an explanation or telling your side. You must only take it as it is and apologise. Oh, and God forbid, if that apology isn’t sincere then you’re as good as dead and buried.
We never consider the mental impact our cancelling may have on the “cancelled”. Or maybe bullying is only allowed when we do it together?
So, what is the criterion we use to differentiate the “cancel culture” from the bullying and cyber bullying pandemic?
We have realised and seen the power we hold over societal norms, so why not take this power into our hands and call for actual change and accountability? Why don’t we use this privilege to change our conditions of life and improve the society we are so desperately hoping for?
The same way we are able to rally up and have people fired from their jobs for misconduct or others removed from participating in beauty pageants for their ignorance, why can’t we keep the same energy when addressing issues of crime, poverty and unemployment? If artists can be discredited simply based on public outcry, would we not then be as efficient in getting those in power removed for their incompetence?
William Gaddis said it best; “Power doesn’t corrupt people, people corrupt power.” So let “cancel culture” be used for what it was intended for, a system that prevented messed up people from getting away with doing or saying shitty things, instead of using it on trivial issues, a form of punishment without a chance of redemption.