Friday, June 21, 2024

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Editorial Contest 2024: Why Cancel Culture needs to be ‘canceled’

The Lansing Journal has partnered with the freshman class at Unity Christian Academy for three consecutive years to host a student editorial contest. Each freshman student wrote an editorial about something they care about, and submitted it to The Lansing Journal. Publisher Melanie Jongsma and Managing Editor Josh Bootsma read the editorials and picked five winners based on criteria including: making a claim, persuasion and analysis, evidence, local impact, and language and voice. This is the first editorial to be published this year, and subsequent winners will be published daily.


Imani Gougis. (Photo provided by Unity Christian Academy)
By Imani Gougis

Whenever somebody says something that I disagree with, I admit that I usually feel the need to criticize them for it. Why do we as people struggle with dealing with conflict properly? Instead of ostracizing a person because their beliefs don’t match up with ours, we should instead strive toward more respectful disputes between one another.

Cancel Culture supports the idea of ridiculing a person due to their personal beliefs. It sometimes leads to a person experiencing mental health issues. Not only that, but Cancel Culture also causes more conflict instead of solving the issue. In this essay, I’ll be examining why Cancel Culture is wrong.

The mental health effects of “canceling”

First, “canceling” is the wrong way of going about a disagreement and could cause a person to experience mental and emotional health issues.

In an article published in January titled “The Psychology of Cancel Culture: Impacts on Mental Health,” psychologist Brad Brenner says, “The experience of being ‘canceled’ can have significant mental health repercussions. Individuals who find themselves at the center of a cancel culture storm often report feelings of anxiety, depression, and a sense of social isolation.”

Being ridiculed by a lot of people could have a strong effect on someone due to the stress of it all, and even trigger new health problems. It’s unnecessary for someone to go online and see that they were being hated everywhere on social media over something that could’ve been resolved with a conversation.

Swirling negativity

Secondly, Cancel Culture doesn’t address issues but instead makes them worse.

Researchers have noted how Cancel Culture is surrounded by negativity toward others. A Pew Research Center study in 2020 surveyed over 10,000 American adults on the topic of Cancel Culture.

“(12%) characterized cancel culture as mean-spirited attacks used to cause others harm,” says an article summarizing the study.

Cancel Culture is sometimes viewed as something that brings justice to an unfair situation, but you’d be surprised at how people tend to use it to justify rude behavior towards others whom they don’t agree with, as well as a way to take away a person’s freedom of speech.

There are many people who can relate to the feeling of being cast out for believing in something different.

There’s a better way to disagree

Finally, there are better ways to deal with conflict. Instead of choosing to “out” someone on whatever they’ve said or did that we don’t agree with, we can always choose to find better ways to speak to them about it.

Yes, people sometimes tend to say insensitive things without realizing what effect they could have on others, but it’s the way we choose to respond to them that matters. From my own experience in the south suburbs, I know that when we choose to approach a person respectfully when we’re confronting them on something we disagree with, or even just offer them constructive criticism, it makes it easier for them to listen to what we’re really trying to get them to understand. They’re also less likely to respond in a rude manner or get offended.

Canceling “canceling”

Cancel Culture isn’t the answer when it comes to letting others know that we disagree with them. The more we continue to do this, the more we’ll struggle to communicate with one another when dealing with conflict.

But at the same time, situations like these tend to help us learn the life lessons we need in order to carry on in the future. So in order for us all to figure this out, how can we finally come to an agreement peacefully without tearing each other down?

We need to choose to handle things differently, such as choosing to not criticize someone for their opinion, or posting our thoughts on a topic in a respectful manner. This will help keep a situation from escalating. Going toward peace rather than commotion will always be the right thing because if we’re not against one another, it’ll make it easier for us to come together.

The Lansing Journal
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The Lansing Journal publishes news releases from state, county, and local officials who provide information that impacts local community life. The particular contributor of each post is indicated in the byline.

1 COMMENT

  1. Thank you for shedding a light on this topic. You can cancel a subscription but you can’t cancel a human being.

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