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Hannah Montana once said, “everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days”. Now does that mean that you can go around saying whatever you want and then proceed to apologize and claim to not act that way again? No, of course not! There is a difference between learning from your mistakes and repetitive behavior. 

Cancel culture is something that had developed in the Gen Z era. It is understandable that as a society we grow and we have the right to no longer tolerate the wrong things people do. So when did cancel culture really become a thing? Cancel culture first started in 2015 on Twitter (Black Twitter to be more specific). The idea revolved around a person’s decisions, small or big, and how these decisions should no longer be supported and neither should the work they do. The earliest use of the word “canceled” in that type of meaning came from late 2014 in a reality tv show where Cisco Rosado, a cast member, and music executive, told his then-girlfriend Diamond Strawberry, “You’re canceled,” after she revealed she had a daughter. After that little history lesson, we see that the use of “canceling” someone came from a source of toleration and that people weren’t allowing others to get away with their actions just because of the privilege they get. The idea was in the right place, had a good background, and showed that this truly is a new era in which we need to respect everyone and understand that people need to be held accountable for their actions. 

Trends are a human thing. When one person does something another will easily follow. Social construction revolves around the idea that people will fall into line because they think that the line is a good one if so many people are in it. Cancel culture became a thing because people made canceling someone a trend. Even the smallest mistake people made would no longer be allowed, and thus they were canceled. Cancel culture was getting out of hand because we started to strip the idea that these people are also human and that they are allowed to learn from their mistakes and grow from their past views. Cancel culture became such a huge thing that people began debates on them online (Twitter, live tv, etc.). The idea of standing up for things that shouldn’t be tolerated and now just become trolls online having the ability to put people under a telescope, dissecting every little thing that that person makes. The world is not a perfect place, everything you do even with good intentions has some place of bad buried underneath. While there are ignorant people who won’t learn their lesson or listen to others, that doesn’t mean that a person who makes one mistake is also ignorant. The people who do cause problems and continuously get praise without the consequence of their actions don’t deserve the recognition they may get. But the idea of “canceling” people has been lost because of how it has continued to evolve.

People are now able to become famous from getting canceled. As people come together to no longer tolerate ignorant behavior that usually a person could get away with, there are other ignorant people who relate to that original ignorant person. A huge debate starts to form around the original person, they get continuous views, retweets, and coverage that causes them to gain more fame. Because at the end of the day good or bad fame is still fame, and these people will start to get recognition and are then known for something. Instead of boosting up these people’s fame by commenting on the things they do, ignore it and move on. This gives them absolutely nothing, which is what they should get because they deserve absolutely nothing. This is how they can learn.

Over millions of years we have evolved as a species, and we continue to do so because we start to understand how to be able to survive in a society in which we can have the best lifestyle. We learned how to treat future generations better because we see how it has affected us and past generations. We saw that there needs to be a change in how we view ourselves in society, but that doesn’t mean that we can get carried away and try to take the power of people’s lives into our own hands. We need to make society, the environment, and the world a better place. That starts with the understanding that when you want good people to get the recognition they deserve, then give those good people your time, not the ones who don’t deserve it.

Bdeeha Khan

CU Boulder '25

I am a freshman majoring in biochemistry, using writing as a coping mechanism to get away from science. :)
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