• Nicole Sherwin

Cancel Culture is Cancelled

I realise if people listen to or read this and disagree with me, I run the strong risk of being ‘cancelled’ myself.

Source: abc.net.au

Last week, my LAL partner Jess wrote an amazing article on Ellen. So, I had it on my mind when I came across ‘cancel culture behaviour’ in action! It made me want to scream, but instead I decided to use this platform to call it out, which is mildly terrifying because I realise if people listen to or read this and disagree with me, I run the strong risk of being ‘cancelled’ myself. But that doesn’t make a good news story, copying everyone else and hopping on a bandwagon. And we didn’t. If you did read Jess’s article, I have used parts as flavour throughout, but it’s not the same piece, so you can keep listening/reading.

"It's an extreme form of censorship masquerading as 'wokeness', and it seeks to chastise anyone whose opinions don't align with that of the status quo."


The internet can be amazing, but it can also a pretty cruel and unforgiving place. Cancel Culture ensures, no matter what you have done your whole life, one fuck up and you're done. We’re not talking racial, homophobic, sexist, or discriminatory talk and actions.’ Weinstein, Bill Cosby, stay in the bin. But the cancel culture we are experiencing today isn’t like that. You could be Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa and you get snapped holding a baby the wrong way, you’re done. It's an extreme form of censorship masquerading as 'wokeness', and it seeks to chastise anyone whose opinions don't align with that of the status quo, branding you instantly 'right-wing' (which I personally am not) and uneducated (which I have several degrees to suggest I also am not) because you don't agree.

What did I see that that triggered me? Let me tell you a story (with maybe a few facts irrelevant to the entire segment, but I was fired up!) I’m in this Facebook group. Sometimes it’s a great group full of sexually empowered women. But sometimes, it’s authoritarian, judgemental and toxic. It’s full of young women, a swarm of which have a degree is ‘wokeness’ from the University of Facebook. Signs of this degree are the constant use of the term ‘emotional labour’ parroting memes like ‘doing nothing about racism is the same as actively being racist.’ Not necessarily bad things at all, just strong signs of where they’re getting their information from. A problem with this surface-level degree (and as I’ll get to explain with ‘Cancel Culture’), is that these people only study the trending modules that come across their socials, not the whole subject. Which is how I came across a post of racism deniers. In fact, these women were trying to ‘educate on racism’ while being racist themselves.

A woman with Italian heritage pointed out a ‘casually racist’ comment on her Instagram along the lines of “Of course, she’s Italian, it’s always the spicy whites.” The responses. “That’s not racist.” “I have never heard of Italians being discriminated against in Australia for their heritage or looks.” Whhhhhaaat! Maybe, ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ isn’t on the school curriculum anymore, but if you’re not familiar, Franscesco Ricatti summarises in his book Italians in Australia that Southern Italians particularly were considered racially inferior. In countries of Italian migration, they fostered the idea they had black blood in their veins due to their proximity to Africa. Or just ask your Italian friends how their families were treated when they migrated.


Another constant theme was trying to one-up each other one who receives more persecution. As if racism isn’t a spectrum. Of course, some persecution is worse than others, some are more recent. But it’s like saying, I was whipped 500 times and you were only whipped 400 and yours was last year so it doesn’t count. It was completely irrational. Comments, upon nasty comments, an angry mob, piling up on this girl, bullying her, shutting down her every response, with absolute, condescending, conviction their opinions were certain. All these behaviours are at the very core of ‘Cancel Culture.’ What I saw in this little corner of the internet is a microcosm for what’s happening in a much broader sense. It’s worrying, it’s dangerous and it needs to be called out.


" a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty. " - Harpers Magazine