Let’s Talk Bookish – Cancel Culture

Good morning guys. Hope you’re all doing well. Welcome to another Let’s Talk Bookish post! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by me, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: Cancel Culture in the Bookish Community

I apologize for this post coming pretty late. I’ve kind of already talked about this before, but never just as a topic in general.

Cancel culture is the culture of cancelling a popular person or celebrity by refusing to support them in any way.

Why would someone be cancelled?

Many times, this person or celebrity says something highly offensive about a group of people. For instance, if a person says something racist or homophobic, there’s a very high chance that they will be seriously cancelled.

Actually there’s no chance about it; they will get cancelled.

But it doesn’t have to be something-ist or something-phobic.

It could simply be a person tweeting their disapproval of a Metro worker eating on a Metro train when there are strict rules against it.

That has happened to an author before, and she did get cancelled. She even lost her book deal.

I think that cancel culture in the bookish community is most prevalent in the YA, or young adult, world. More so on twitter as well. So here’s the big question.

Is cancelling a person okay?

It depends. If it’s Adolf Hitler, then yes, by all means, do cancel him. But if it’s a person making one uninformed or misinformed statement, and not realizing that what they are saying is wrong or problematic, I don’t think they deserve to be cancelled.

Because with one kindly worded explanation, that person may realize their mistake and apologize for it.

Some may argue that if you aren’t informed, don’t be making that statement to start with. But again, it could all just be a case of misinformation, where the person making the statement thought they were right but they were actually wrong.

We all make mistakes. We’re human; it’s part of life. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t have any issues in this world to start with.

Authors are also just as human and should be allowed to apologize and make up for their mistake. Many authors have been cancelled for being racist, anti-LGBT, transphobic-for so many reasons.

Some authors have been cancelled for going too far and literally stalking a reviewer.

Do these authors deserve to be cancelled? Sometimes.

Stalking a reviewer is in no way okay, and as an adult, even as a child, we should know that. Sometimes the author just won’t accept that they are wrong, or they won’t try to see the situation from another person’s perspective. In these cases, I understand why they would be cancelled.

But an author who makes one mistake and isn’t given a chance to correct it? I don’t think it’s fair or necessary to cancel them at all. Even a semi-angry/sarcastic explanation is okay, because it’ll probably make the author realize that what they have done/said is wrong.

We all make mistakes and we’ve all made that one highly misinformed or uninformed statement in our lives. We may be unaware that we are saying ableist things, or racist things, and all it takes is one person explaining why what we are saying is problematic for us to stop, take a step back, apologize, and correct it.

I admit, I am highly uninformed and probably misinformed. I may have said a lot of problematic things, and I don’t know I have. I would highly appreciate it if someone explains to me what I’m doing wrong so I can fix it, than have the whole community cancel me.

Because we all make mistakes. I make mistakes. You make mistakes. And we should all be given a chance to fix them.

We need to take a step back and look at that angry message that we just pounded out in response to a highly privileged/offensive statement. Would we like to be on the receiving end of that message? Would we be inclined to fix our mistake if that’s the kind of message we get?

Because writing a livid response that’s full of insults and anger will make the person reading it defensive and not inclined to concede and realize their mistake.

There’s always going to be that one stupid uninformed message our 14 year old self wrote on the internet that’s going to haunt us for life. But who we are in 10 years is drastically different from who we are today. You don’t want that stupid message coming back to bite you when you’ve finally grown and started to establish a successful career. You don’t want that 3 AM message that you thought was pretty clever being the downfall of your career when you wake up with a few hundred angry DMs and you realize that it is cleverly offensive.

We all have the capacity to change. We all want to be given a chance to change and grow. So let’s take a step back, breathe, and give others a chance to change too.

This Week’s Participants:

Aria @ Book Nook Bits | Dani @ Literary Lion

That’s it for today. Sorry for the pretty late post!

What do you think? Should authors be cancelled if they make a mistake?

Do you think that we are too quick to be offended in today’s day and age? Who else kind of hates the internet for constantly documenting things when you make a mistake?

How would you feel if I published some of my poetry on the blog? Chat with me in the comments below!


14 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish – Cancel Culture

  1. Whenever I think of cancel culture I feel intimidated because from what I’ve seen on twitter people can get so riled up and the responses can be very… intense at times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re very welcome 🙂
    It definitely depends on the circumstance & who it is for me. If we are talking about small content creators or just your everyday person, then I wouldn’t want to publicly shame them – especially if it is something they didn’t realise was harmful. If it’s a big celebrity though, I feel that’s sometimes the only option.
    You’ve given me some more to think about too! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was a really well thought out discussion!
    Honestly, I think I am probably a less lenient than you when it comes to ‘cancel culture’ – it really depends for me on each case. I agree that people should be given a chance to learn from their mistakes – I know for sure that I said some things when I was younger because I was misinformed – but I think it is important that we still call people out. There is definitely a right and wrong way to do this though, which you talked about. I totally agree that we need to be careful about writing angry messages impulsively, instead of taking the time to say something politely and informative.
    There’s also the difference between mistakes and regret – it always comes out in the apology if someone truly didn’t mean to be offensive or whether they just regret that they’ve been called out.
    This was so interesting to read, awesome work 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Sabrina!!
      I don’t know if I necessarily like the calling out option either? Unless the person has done it multiple times or has ignored advice privately, I don’t really like the idea of publicly calling someone out. Maybe it’s just because I’m imagining myself being in that position, and I’d be so ashamed and embarrassed and horrified lol. But I think telling someone privately would show whether someone is regretful or apologetic like you said. If you send them a private message explaining what’s wrong, and they ignore you, and then you publicly say it and then they apologize, then you know it’s not sincere at all.
      But I guess, it doesn’t matter either way because a message does sound different if it’s meant to be regretful or apologetic.
      Lol, you’ve given me something to think about 😊
      Thank you for reading 💚✨

      Liked by 1 person

  4. great discussion as always, Rukky! oof, cancel culture is a tough subject. but overall, i agree with you that people are allowed to make mistakes. i know for sure that i’ve said and done some problematic things in the past, and if by some chance, those come to light, i would want people to allow me to learn from my mistakes. but i think that in some cases, cancel culture doesn’t exist. for example, a book named american dirt was recently released. the author is white, but they decided to write about latinx characters, and many latinx people have called the author out on their poor representation, and i’m pretty sure the book has been called out on many other problematic things as well. however, american dirt still has a 4.26 average rating on goodreads, it was chosen for oprah’s book club, etc. in cases like that, i think that the supposed “cancel culture” was ineffective. and honestly, many times, white people who get “canceled” aren’t actually canceled. many authors who have done/said problematic stuff are still out there thriving (Jay Kristoff, J.K. Rowling, etc.) and getting their coin. but people on the Internet hold people of color to a higher standard, and many PoC i know have mentioned that people are more quick to forgive a white/white passing person as opposed to a dark-skinned one :/
    overall, cancel culture is a nuanced topic. i’m honestly not the best person to talk to about it, because i haven’t done any actual research (this is just what i’ve observed from twitter). but i think that in some cases, it is necessary (like when a person just won’t stop). however, sometimes (and usually, when it comes to white people), them being “cancelled” doesn’t even affect their career in the long run

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 💚 Same, I’ve probably said a lot of problematic things, and I’m growing and becoming better, and I would want people to see that. Focus on the present me, not what my past self said uninformedly.

      That’s true. It seems like PoC are held to a higher standard, and I think those holding them to those standards are also PoC. I think it’s because of this mentality that, “you’re a person of color, you know what it’s like to struggle to be heard or find appropriate representation, so if you’re gonna write a book, you BETTER do it right, cause you know how it feels to read hurtful books”. And then, the one mistake or perceived mistake (cause you know, sometimes it’s not a mistake but actually a different perspective) that other PoC see, and that’s it, they have absolutely no tolerance at all.

      At least, that’s what I think is the reason. But it is frustrating that white authors don’t get such flak and a destroyed career as well. There are probably white authors who did have their career destroyed (Kathleen Hale for one) but they aren’t as frequent as PoC authors, I think. Like you I haven’t actually researched it.

      Another thing I think is: these authors like J.K. Rowling, I’ve heard a few times now that she was cancelled for something (I don’t even know what lol) but she’s still a millionaire, and if you search her name or books, the first entry won’t be “An author who was cancelled for xyz is now publishing…”. You probably won’t find anything about the controversy unless you specifically search for it. But search someone like Amelie Wen Zhao, and the very first result is talking about her pulling her book 😐

      It definitely is nuanced and changes depending on who the person is. I guess, if it’s not going to be fair, then cancel culture shouldn’t exist at all. There shouldn’t be any double standards.

      Thanks for reading 💚✨

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! I love that we’re having discussions these days about how we shouldn’t tolerate certain behaviours, but we do need to realise that people make mistakes and need to be allowed to make them. No one is perfect all of the time, and because so much is on social media these days everyone has a backlog of things they can be called out on. I’m so glad I wasn’t on Facebook and Twitter when I was a teenager!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jess!! Exactly. Every person has said something problematic or “offensive” to at least one person, and thanks to the Internet, it’s just sitting there, waiting to come back and ruin our present much more informed and mature lives. Oh well lol

      Liked by 1 person

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