White Paper- Johnwick66

Hypothesis 1. Cancel cultures attempts to stop racism only further cement racial views in the people they target by crushing their futures in the name of social justice rather than try to educate them on the wrong doings of their actions , thus leaving behind in its wake a sea of destroyed lives with their racist thoughts now expanding rapidly since they are the only things left for them to cling to.

Hypothesis 2. Cancel cultures attempts to stop racism, while progressive in its results need heavy adjustments in their aftermaths, while these actions do allow for change to occur, the victimizers that are canceled need to be allowed to eventually reenter society with them being cancelled used as learning tool for them. By simply leaving them in the dust with nothing but their racist thoughts will lead to those thoughts expanding since they are the only things left for them to hold onto.

Hypothesis 3. Cancel cultures attempts to stop prejudice (racism, sexism, homophobia) only further cement those awful views in the people they target by crushing their futures in the name of social justice rather than try to educate them on the wrong doings of their actions , thus leaving behind in its wake a sea of destroyed lives with their radical thoughts now expanding rapidly since they are the only things left for them to cling to.

Note to self: make adjustment to hypothesis to include hate speech overall not just racism


Source 1: Brooks, David . 2019. “The Cruelty of Call-Out Culture.” New York Times, January 14. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/14/opinion/call-out-social-justice.html.

Background: The author of the article recalls a podcast that told the story of Emily, a member of a hard core punk band and how she basically disowned her bestfriend after an accusation was made about him. Only for her a few years later have the same scenario happen to her and she lost everything. Then how her accuser relishes in her pain and doesn’t care what happens to her next. The author then goes on to say how through these incidents society stops looking at these people like humans and more like the embodiments of good vs evil.

I find it counterintuitive how cancel culture is regarded as a way to push forth social justice and rights of the people, yet at the same time dehumanizes its victimizers. How just because of something we said(even if its messed up to say)automatically means that you should be stripped of everything you ever wanted/ had is, to say the least, quite extreme. Emily, the member of the hard-core punk band, was, through her own actions, made a unquie example from both sides of the fence. It was through her actions that her best friend(who at the time was accused of sending unwelcomed sexual photos) had his life basically ruined. He was forced to leave the punk scene, apparently lost his job, and has been living on hard times since. She did what she thought was right in regards to fighting for social justice. Yet the irony unfolds a mere few months later when Emily herself gets canceled for something she posted years ago. Then everything that she threw onto her ex friend now fell upon her. Even the dehumanization of her as a person, all because for a message she sent years ago.

Note to self: investigate the podcast behind the article: (NPR’s Invisibilia series ” The Callout”)

Source 2: “What is the cost of ‘cancel culture’?”BBC News. 2020-10-08. Retrieved 2021-01-06

Background: The article first covers the actions of Mr.Paulinich, a social media activist that regularly posts videos of people saying predijuce things in an attempt to cancel them. His account is gaining followers as more people come together in support. Then the article goes on discussing what cancel culture is and the effects of it on not only people, but companies and brands alike(aunt Jemima, Uncle Bens, Land o Lakes). Then finishes the article by discussing how the targets need to be able to make amends for their actions.

I find it counterintuitive how when they discuss when the cancelations of different people/ products the people who cancel those them act as if what they did really brought change in terms from the person they cancel. Like when Goya was cancelled for their chief executive praising former President Trump, do you honestly think cancelling them will change that man views on Trump. Or like how when people get exposed and cancelled online for the things they said, even if what they did was wrong, is destroying their life the best way to go? Especially if after their messed up remarks are going to be the only thing they have left. The idea that the canceled can’t make amends for their mistakes doesn’t feel accepting but rather authoritative.

Source 3. Huffman, E. M. (2016). Call-out culture: How online shaming affects social media participation in young adults (Order No. 10120833). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1795577817). Retrieved from http://ezproxy.rowan.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.proquest.com%2Fdissertations-theses%2Fcall-out-culture-how-online-shaming-affects%2Fdocview%2F1795577817%2Fse-2%3Faccountid%3D13605

Link: Call-out culture: How online shaming affects social media participation in young adults – ProQuest (rowan.edu)

The text is about call out culture and how online shaming affects young adults and how the participate in social media. Social media is filled with lurkers. (People who use social media but don’t post on it) about 90% of social media users are lurkers. The paper then went into detail how shaming has been used by humans dating back to the creation of the bible. This document is around 61 pages long so I still have quite a bit to read through.

I find it counterintuitive how social media is made as a platform for people to find their voice, however only about 10% of it’s users actually post on these sites. The remaining 90% (also know as lurkers) specifically only follow the guideline of look don’t touch. It’s hypothesized that the reason most people follow this rule is due to how frequently people get publicly shamed on these platforms due to things they either say or post.

Source 4: Trottier, D. (2018). Coming to terms with shame: Exploring mediated visibility against transgressions. Surveillance & Society, 16(2), 170-182. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.rowan.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.proquest.com%2Fscholarly-journals%2Fcoming-terms-with-shame-exploring-mediated%2Fdocview%2F2138979618%2Fse-2%3Faccountid%3D13605

Link: Coming to Terms with Shame: Exploring Mediated Visibility against Transgressions – Criminal Justice Database – ProQuest (rowan.edu)

The text is a “report” on public shaming and its creation, use in todays society, what exactly it is and if we overstep our boundaries with it. It also covers and distinguishes the differences between social/public shaming and shaming in a parent/child relationship and how they aren’t similar and that through today’s social media the shaming of our “transgressors” is out of proportion to the actions committed.

I find it counterintuitive how people will take to social media publicly in order to shame others for their actions, but then at the same time dehumanize the person at question in order to feel justified in their treatment of the transgressors. Even most state governments believe these actions are an unnecessary overreach of public punishment and try to go out of their way to try to minimize shame and shaming’s.

Source 5: Aitchison, G., & Meckled-Garcia, S. (2021). Against Online Public Shaming: Ethical Problems with Mass Social Media. Social Theory & Practice47(1), 1–31. https://doi-org.ezproxy.rowan.edu/10.5840/soctheorpract20201117109

Link: Against Online Public Shaming: Ethical Problems with Mass Social Media: EBSCOhost (rowan.edu)

Based off what I’ve read so far, the article covers how the mass online gatherings of people who desire to ruin the life of someone that did or said something they didn’t agree with and how even though the people who said/did the thing may be wrong in what they did, that doesn’t make it justifiable in how their lives are basically ended by these crowds.( Still reading through it, its about 32 pages. So I’ll more as I continue to read through.)

I find it counterintuitive how people find it so necessary to destroy peoples lives for saying things that they don’t agree with and reducing them to simply unworthy characteristics and and personalities that are then stripped of certain human relationships. Only to then talk how we as people must be more kind and accepting to one another. How can you go from one state of mind to another so rapidly?

Source 6: Gypsy Crusader Origin Story (bitchute.com)

This is video from Paul Miller himself explaining as to why he turned into a radical white racist, and the events that led him to that turning point.

Source 7: GypsyCrusader – Wikipedia

A wiki source explaining Paul Miller , who he is and what he does. To be honest I’m using the Wiki as a source hub for several sources that the Wiki was made off of.

Source 8: Shaming Smokers Can Backfire — Journal Report – ABI/INFORM Collection – ProQuest (rowan.edu)

Not a soild point but something I want to keep in case, as it discusses the potential backfiring of shaming smokers. Might give a possible leave in terms of connecting to public shaming in general.

Source9: All of James Charles’s Allegations & Accusations, Explained (thecut.com)

Vujić, K. (2021, April 05). A guide to the many, many scandals of James Charles. Retrieved April 12, 2021, from https://www.thecut.com/article/james-charles-allegations-and-accusations-explained.html

An article listing several questionable infractions commitied by James Charles

Source 10 :(2) holding myself accountable – YouTube

Holding myself accountable. (2021, April 01). Retrieved April 12, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsjwRp8_lWA

Apology video were he admits to talking to minors

Source 11: Are Hate Crime Hoaxers Above the Law? | SpringerLink

Reilly, W. Are Hate Crime Hoaxers Above the Law? . Acad. Quest. 32, 553–561 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12129-019-09829-x

Article discusses Smollett’s actions and this overarching idea that people who make up hate crimes can easily slip away from punishment.

Source 12:Backlash against human rights shaming: emotions in groups | International Theory | Cambridge Core

Snyder, J. (2020). Backlash against human rights shaming: Emotions in groups. International Theory, 12(1), 109-132. doi:10.1017/S1752971919000216

Discusses how human rights groups hurt their goals by shaming it’s opposition as it leads to a stronger defiance.

Short Arguments

Definition/classification Argument”

Cancel culture, possibly one of if not the biggest miss use of social media. Where people lives can be terminated in a matter of minutes. With the rise of social media, the world is more connected than ever, people from all over capable of communicating as if the other person is simply across the street. Along with this kind of tech comes a new profound power. The ability to cancel (a form of shaming) anyone for saying/doing something the public doesn’t agree with. With this kind of power the people could use it for good in order to help bring change. But instead we use it to burn normal people’s lives for nothing more than shits and giggles. Instead of bringing change like we could, we’d rather destroy the lives of relatively innocent people for what, social justice? Please tell me what does the destruction of people’s lives do that help make that person better in terms of prejudice? It doesn’t, if anything it makes it worse by now basically forcing those people to hug onto their bad remarks/actions since they’d be the only thing left for them.


It’s this weird common idea that we make the world a better place by cancelling people who say and do awfully predejuce things. That by destroying their lives in terms of their job, friends, and family, we somehow benefit society. Honestly though it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Through these actions we only deepen the thoughts these people have in regards to race, sexism, homophobia, etc by giving them a scape goat in terms of why they are in that situation. especially since after these people are publicly shamed they are left behind, they aren’t allowed to have any kind of redemption for their actions. But rather its like they are locked into this scenario that they are these dehumanized pieces of garbage that no one cares for anymore. What do expect to happen to these people when they are stripped of everything except their remarks with no real chance to right their wrong? Simple, they embrace the only thing they are known for and make it apart of them. This can be seen with the man known gypsy crusader (look for documents on him in order to help my case)


Not everyone who gets canceled loses everything. look at celebrities like Morgan Wallen, who are doing fine after their incident.

True, their are certain scenarios where people may recover and be fine following them being cancelled but these are one rare and two typically only happen for celebrities, political figures, and the rich. However the same cannot be said for the common folk, we don’t have money or power to make these kind of situations go away. If some random citizen were to get cancel tomorrow, they wouldn’t be able to protect themselves from the rather large backlash that would be bound to come for them.

Current status on my research:

I might be in a pickle but I’m not entirely sure yet. For the Causal I’m trying to tie in a real life example of a person who was cancelled and through it became worse. But the problem is that their isn’t an official document discussing that, but rather several online clips and small articles, am I allowed to use these for reference when explaining my example? Some of these clips and such came from either the news prior to his cancellation or directly from the man himself. Another thing is that I realized that there isn’t really a lot of reliable sources in regards to how to cancelling someone can make them more racist.(that’s why I’m using the actual example) but I have found documents about the fear of cancellation resulting in people avoiding online commentary, do you think that would work to help out with that?

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11 Responses to White Paper- Johnwick66

  1. davidbdale says:

    You’re in a good place so far, JohnWick. And you’ve written much more original material than most of your classmates, which means you’re approaching the project correctly, by ARGUING with your sources as you read them, forming your opinions by engaging with the ideas of others. The progress you’ve made so far puts you ahead of the curve, so don’t be discouraged that your paper isn’t coming together quickly.

    One thing about cancel culture is that anyone can be its victim. We see evidence every day of simple comments made by average citizens receiving hateful or just shameful responses. But that universality might be a problem for your paper because it makes your target so broad. The term is most often used to describe a sort of universal boycott of a company or product, isn’t it? When the My Pillow guy publicly embraced voter-fraud conspiracies, outraged consumers took the chance to slam the quality of his products, shame him publicly, try to dig up dirt about his character, send back purchases they had made, and on and on. The chairman of Goya foods suffered a massive boycott effort for his public support for the President. Etc. The Governor of New York is going to get himself cancelled for flirting with the women in his offices. So broad.

    I appreciate that you’re narrowing your focus to backlash against racist behavior or speech. That will help keep your work in check. Let’s see if we can find some academic sources that address the best and worst strategies to counteract racism.

    There is a parallel conversation that might be fruitful, between international diplomacy versus sanctions. The Crown Prince (MBS) of Saudi Arabia has been determined to have ordered the death of American-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Cancel culture would respond by cutting off all aid to his country, severing ties, ceasing any collaborative efforts, withdrawing from any trade agreements with the Saudis, and on and on. But the US has declined to participate in that behavior. Most likely (one would hope) quiet diplomatic efforts are being undertaken to punish MBS for his transgression and dissuade him from repeating it. I can’t say which approach is better, but the parallel is worth discussing. “When Countries Participate in Cancel Culture.”


  2. davidbdale says:

    I’ve graded your post at Canvas, John Wick. If the grade satisfies you, nothing further is required. If you wish to revise, you can do that right in this post (no need to create a Rewrite post) and Update it. Once you’ve revised it, you can request a regrade for one week by putting this revised post into the Regrade Please category.

    Either way, it’s polite AND good strategy to respond to your Professor when he leaves feedback. “Thanks, Prof,” and “I’m going to start revising right away,” and “What the hell was that!” are popular choices. If you prefer to be ignored, you needn’t respond at all. 🙂


    • johnwick66 says:

      Ok professor thank you for the feedback and in terms of when people are canceled usually from what I’ve seen they will target just about anything that person has to their name(business, family, lifestyle, physical features) and the reason ,at least I kind of think, people react this way is that when someone does something ” cancelable they are automatically dehumanized, which for the people doing it, makes them feel justified in their actions.


      • davidbdale says:

        I get that, JW. No doubt you’re right about that. But it won’t come to life until you connect it to specific situations. Whenever possible, speak in concrete terms. For example,

        When a person, rightly or wrongly, is convicted of a capital crime and finds himself on death row, he becomes the ultimate example of “cancel culture.” So utterly dehumanized that he is thought to have relinquished the right to his own body, he appears to well-meaning social engineers like little more than a bag of spare parts to be dispensed to “more deserving” humans who need a fresh liver, kidney, or heart.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. davidbdale says:

    As I read your 3 Hypotheses, JW, I have these reactions:
    —Maybe Cancel Culture isn’t concerned with the reactions of the target.
    —Maybe “cancelling” a racist is just a “feel good” device that makes the cancellers feel virtuous.
    —Maybe the actual goal of a cancellation campaign is to send a message to other racists to keep their racist opinions to themselves or face the consequences.
    —The results of Cancel Campaigns are probably threefold: 1) They devastate the victim and (sometimes justifiably, sometimes unfairly), and 2) They scare off timid racists from publicly expressing their views, and 3) They force racism into the underground but do nothing to eliminate it.


  4. davidbdale says:

    Things I admire about your Source Notes include:
    —I find it counterintuitive that cancel culture is regarded as a way to promote social justice and the rights of people, yet at the same time dehumanizes its victimizers.
    —investigate the podcast behind the article: (NPR’s Invisibilia series ” The Callout”)
    —I find it counterintuitive that the people who “cancel” companies act as if they really changed the person they cancel.
    —I find it counterintuitive that even though social media is a platform for people to find their voice, only 10% of its users actually post on these sites.
    —I find it counterintuitive that people who take to social media to shame others at the same time justify their action by dehumanizing the transgressors.
    —I find it counterintuitive that people who try to destroy people’s lives over small disagreements at the same time preach kindness and acceptance.

    The themes here are clear and they recur. They show that you’re working well to identify an objective observer’s clear eye on the subject.

    Your primary observation, that Cancellers Dehumanize their Victims (for dehumanizing their victims) is about as pointed and devastating as a counterintuitive thesis can be.

    Your secondary observation, that Cancellers don’t actual accomplish their goal of changing the attitudes of their targets SHOULD prompt you to ask: Then why do it? The answers could be several 1) they don’t know they’re ineffective, 2) they don’t care about effectiveness; they merely want to express their outrage, feel powerful, and feel virtuous, 3) their goal is to intimidate OTHERS who might want to behave as their victims did.

    Your third fascinating observation, that users of social media mostly lurk, opens several possibilities for development: 1) social media users are intimidated by the hostility they see leveled at anyone who dares to express an opinion, 2) watching other people engage in the mixed-martial art of shaming and belittling social media users is a spectator sport, 3) people unable to improve their own lives take pleasure in watching others get destroyed.

    I’m impressed by your thoughtfulness, JW. I hope these reactions of mine will help you crystallize your thinking, or at least help you express what you already think.


  5. davidbdale says:

    Next time you put a post into Feedback Please, I’ll insist that you guide me with specific questions. Otherwise you may get random observations that don’t address your actual needs.


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