Imagine this: After finding success in a job of your choice, someone finds out about one of your past mistakes and reveals it to your bosses, coworkers, and consumers. This mistake makes you a pariah at your job, where you are condemned, harassed, and ultimately fired without the chance to defend or explain your actions. Unfortunately, this practice of shunning a person for small mistakes has become commonplace in this era, especially in regards to famous people like celebrities and politicians.
There has been a rise in “Cancel Culture,” or a refusal to support a person based on their actions or beliefs. Originally, someone would be “cancelled” due to severe failings sexual and domestic abuse, misogyny, racism, homophobia, etc. Over time, however, people began canceling others for more mundane issues, like off-color jokes, different political leanings, or simple mistakes made years before. Many famous people even loss their jobs or positions due to these reactions. Condemning people immediately for smaller past actions doesn’t account for changes in a person’s character over time or mistakes made out of ignorance rather than malice.
Rather than immediately declaring someone a persona non grata over simple errors, people should give them the time to do several things in response:
- Acknowledge: Although acknowledgement of a mistake seems simple, doing so is the only way to begin a dialogue about what was expressed.
- Apologize or Explain
- Apologize: A lot of people are remorseful for their actions, whether it’s a past action that doesn’t reflect their present-day beliefs or a present action that’s the result of sincere cluelessness. They just need the opportunity to do so.
- Explain: Someone may genuinely support the thoughts that they express, but those thoughts are poorly explained. Give them the opportunity to explain those beliefs before deciding whether or not you can support them.
- Amend: If a person apologizes, give them time to make amends and prove that they really have changed, or at least still deserve your good will.
Ultimately, we’re all human. From the person on the street to the World’s Richest Man, we will all eventually make mistakes that unintentionally hurt others. You wouldn’t want people to condemn you for errors that you’ve grown and learned from…you should give others the opportunity to do the same.
Edited by Andy Smiley