“Cancel culture” has become one of the most divisive terms in America, fueling moral panic and even prompting calls from Republican lawmakers to make it illegal. Now a major survey reveals how many Americans feel about the term and its power to hold people to account.
Although the phrase has been around for decades, in recent years the culture of cancellation has become an increasingly politicized topic, according to the Pew Research Center, which released the findings of a survey of more than 10,000 American adults on Wednesday.
The survey, conducted in September 2020, asked respondents to define the cancellation culture in their own words, and found that many were deeply divided on its meaning.
A representative response from a conservative Republican said that cancellation culture is “destroying a person’s career or reputation based on past events that person participated in, or past statements that person made, even if their beliefs or opinions have changed, “the study found.
In contrast, another respondent who described herself as a “moderate Democrat” said it was “a method of withdrawing support for public figures or businesses.”
Five other different descriptions of the term “cancel culture” also appeared in Americans’ responses: “people cancel anyone they disagree with,” “consequences for those who have been challenged, an attack on American values. traditional “,” a way to draw attention to issues such as racism or sexism “, or a” misrepresentation of people’s actions. “
With the rise of social media, the #MeToo movement, and recent calculations on racism, many forms of accountability have been summed up as a culture of cancellation, while others say critics of such calculations are defending toxic power structures.
Canceling culture was condemned in 2020 in a letter from 150 scholars, writers, and activists from the left and right in Harper magazine. He was cited in a 2020 antitrust hearing by Rep. Jim Jordan. who forced each tech executive to indicate whether he thought it was good or bad. Last week, a Republican operative founded a group of counter to cancel cancel cultivation.
However, despite its dominance in the national discourse, a large number of respondents said they were not familiar with the subject. Pew admits the poll was conducted prior to “a series of recent conversations and controversies about the cancellation culture.” But still, the majority, 56%, say they haven’t heard anything or not too much, including 38% who haven’t heard anything at all.
Familiarity with the term varies with age. While 64% of adults under the age of 30 say they have heard a lot or enough about the cancellation culture, that proportion drops to 46% among those aged 30-49 and 34% among those aged 50 or over. more. Overall, 44% of Americans say they have heard at least a good amount of the phrase, including 22% who have heard “a lot.”
Pew also surveyed people for their broader thoughts on the act of calling others on social media, asking if this type of behavior is more likely to hold people accountable or punish those who don’t deserve it.
More than half, 58% of American adults, say that overall, calling others on social media is more likely to hold people accountable, while just 38% say it is more likely to punish women. people who don’t deserve it.
“I think you have to call people when they say something offensive on social media, because if you are brave enough to say it, then you have to be brave enough to be responsible for your actions and be able to deal with what happens because of” said a woman surveyed.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism