'Cancel culture' has become a phrase that means so much that it means nothing at all. It originated in Black culture as a way to hold the powerful accountable, but was eventually appropriated as a political weapon for (mostly White) conservatives and liberal progressives, each group using it in very different ways.
Cancel culture has brought much-needed attention to societal inequities, but also toppled careers - some justifiably, others more questionably. In the end, the most powerful scalawags seem too big to cancel.
We parse out the nuance of 'cancel culture' with three thoughtful people, including one who has been canceled and who now counsels the canceled.
- Gene Seymour is a film and jazz critic and a cultural critic for CNN.com, the New Republic, and the Nation.
- Clyde McGrady is a Style features writer for the Washington Post focusing on race and identity.
- Alice Dreger is a writer, historian, journalist, and local news publisher with Ph.D in History of Science. Her best known book is Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and One Scholar’s Search for Justice, and her bylines include the New York Times, WIRED Magazine, and the Atlantic.
Colin McEnroe and Cat Pastor contributed to this show.