Can We Cancel "Canceled" Culture?

Can We Cancel "Canceled" Culture?

By: Deveney Marshall

Everyone Is Canceled!

In the age of Twitter where everything happens in real time and people don't take a moment to think before they tweet, a thing called being canceled was born. The act of being canceled is not one you want to ever face the burden of. It basically means you've said something incredibly distasteful and people would rather ignore your existence, than even care to hear the excuse of why you said what you said. When people first began using the slang I found it to be witty, hilarious, and straight to the point. However, as time goes by and the term has become more mainstream, I’m ready to cancel ”canceled culture” altogether.

The term canceled became popular a few years ago on Twitter by black gays, who would jokingly use the word to dismiss celebrities when they turned out to be not so great people. For instance, if a celebrity would say something harmful to the LGBTQ community (or any other marginalized group) they would refer to that person as canceled. The word acted as a signal to halt any support that person was receiving. At first, the concept was great. You wouldn't support a normal person if they made a comment that negatively impacted your livelihood, so why should a celebrity be given a pass for the same behavior? However, as time went by and more celebrities would give less than clever remarks pertaining to certain issues, the number of people that were being canceled became overwhelming and harder to keep up with — and before I knew it we were canceling celebs for not only unjust comments, but different opinions, lifestyle choices, and anything else under the sun.

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In today’s society, we have convinced ourselves that we are more progressive and accepting
than we have ever been before. Us millennials specifically, take pride in being the generation
that's all about individualism, and disrupting generational ideals and beliefs systems — but I
would argue that sometimes we all participate in groupthink more worse than the generations
before us. The only difference now is our groupthink is not as closed-minded as past
generations, but it is just as limiting. We tend to write others off rather quickly once we find out
their ideas don't fall on the liberal spectrum, which I believe is done with the best intentions. Still, it doesn’t make it right.

Unfortunately, canceling doesn’t allow us to fully interpret and process actions or words we deem problematic like we should. Abruptly dismissing someone for their ignorance teaches us to be less empathetic and tolerant, which is the opposite of what we should be doing in a progressive society. We need to shift more focus on the issue and not the person. No matter how much you cancel a person and pretend they’re not a factor, those ideologies they tweeted or said still are, and will continue to create toxicity until a real dialogue happens surrounding them.


The reality is we are all ignorant about something, whether we choose to admit that or not. Instead of dismissing one another, let’s try expanding each other’s horizons and calling each other out on our problematic behavior. Will it always be perceived well? No, but at least you tried to rationalize with the person before completely casting them out.

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In the future, if a person makes an obtuse comment or a hateful tweet from their past happens to resurface, give them the chance to explain themselves. That individual may be in a
completely different headspace than they were then, and they may actually regret their words. And if they don’t? Still give that person time to process and re-evaluate. Emotional intelligence isn’t a natural thing for everyone. We've all had unique experiences and journeys that impact how we digest this world, and sadly for some, it doesn't manifest in the most positive ways.


Remember, we can't continue to cancel everyone that has said something offensive, because then the whole world would be canceled, but we can cancel the harmful ideas perpetuated and their effects. So, what do you all think, can we finally cancel canceled culture?

*Deveney Marshall is a New Orleans-based filmmaker, actress, and freelance writer. She runs
the lifestyle & beauty website Follow her thoughts & life on twitter and
IG: @devandthecity



Deveney Marshall