ethnic studies writing question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.
Help me remove plagiarism on the following paper and send a turnitin report.
Week 6 – Ethics and Contemporary Issue- “Cancel Culture”
ETHC 445: Principles of Ethics
Prof. Brian Simms
February 9, 2023
In today’s society, Cancel culture has become a much practiced and idealistic ritual in the wake of technology’s advancement throughout the 21st century. Social platforms that launched in the early 2000’s such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook all pose the opportunity for “mass canceling” to take place. Additionally, this paved the way for the ease in advocating an opinion or form of action on the respective networks behind a digital screen, and with the click of a button. Exploring the ethical principles of right and wrong behind this major idealism provides us a deeper look into the reasons behind why people are for it, and why people are against it.
Nowadays, when an organization or individual says or commits an act of offense, this resultantly instills backlash from the public, therefore, calling for the “cancellation” of the platform, or career of the aggressor in the situation. Although cancel culture may be seen as a way of holding accountability towards the initiator in the eyes of some, on the contrary, it may also be seen as overstepping boundaries to the point where it’s considered borderline bullying. To what measures, though, do we stop and ask ourselves – “Is this ethical?”, “Is this wrong?”, or “Is this justice?”
Background and ethical challenges
Dating back to the early 90’s, the reference to “canceling” someone was first used by actor Wesley Snipes in a film called New Jack City where he portrayed a violent gangster. He had a girlfriend that couldn’t tolerate his violent activities anymore, so he decided to cut ties with her and mercilessly proclaimed; “Cancel that b****. I’ll buy another one.” But the term really took off in 2014 thanks to an episode of VH1's reality show "Love and Hip-Hop: New York." In the episode, the music executive and record producer, Cisco Rosado, ended an argument with his girlfriend by saying "you're canceled.”
As time progressed and technology advanced, the word took on a life of its own – often among Black users on the networking platform Twitter. The term was used as a joke to show disapproval for a person's actions or statements in a form of lighthearted criticism, but it wasn’t until later that “canceling” someone, or an organization, involved boycotting them professionally. In today’s modern society, it is seen as a scourge against the freedom of expression, and a retribution approach that can destroy lives when activists push for the cancellation of individuals or organizations (Sharf, Z, 2021).
When the practice of canceling someone is put into effect, people face losing their jobs or reputations over their actions or beliefs. Very few celebrities or public figures have actually experienced career ending repercussions from being canceled. However, not all of society may hop on the mass cancelation train just because everyone else is. For example, comedian Dave Chapelle had made claims that the gargantuan streaming service Netflix had taken action in response to his transphobic jokes made on his comedy special The Closer. He was canceled by the platform, and met with backlash mainly from the transgender community. Yet, he went on to win 3 Primetime Emmys, and even had a theater named after him in his honor after all the commotion died down (Sharf, Z., 2021). Additionally, he went on to do several more standup specials on Netflix! Goes to show that not all situations require a call to arms to cancel an individual because of their right to freedom of speech, or the right to their beliefs.
Not all scenarios tend to end up like Dave Chappelle’s though. Take author J.K. Rowling for instance – she too made transphobic commentaries via Twitter that affected the transgender community. She was met with backlash from her fans, and additionally, her invite to the Harry Potter reunion hosted on the platform HBO Max was, let’s say – “lost in the mail”? The reunion marked the 20th anniversary of the blockbuster franchise that the 56-year-old author created and was excluded.
So, how exactly do J.K. Rowling’s actions differ from that of Dave Chapelle’s? They both made transphobic comments; one made jokes on a streaming service used by almost 207 million subscribers (Toler, L., 2021), and the other blatantly stated her opinions on a social networking platform. Both these individuals would be considered high-profile in their respective professions, but where one received Grammy awards and an honorary namesake, the other received death threats! According to Rowling on Twitter, “I’ve now received so many death threats I could paper the house with them, and I haven’t stopped speaking out. Perhaps – and I’m just throwing this out there – the best way to prove your movement isn’t a threat to women, is to stop stalking, harassing and threatening us” .
This brings us to several questions – Is it ethical what Rowling’s fans are doing? Is it justice to hold her accountable and threaten her life just because a fraction of society does not agree with her beliefs? Or is it wrong to bully someone simply because of their opinions? These idealisms don’t just apply to the world of celebrities and “stars”, but to that of real-world situations and problems within the branches of politics and major company organizations. I want to know if there is an alternative to “canceling someone”, or if holding accountability for one’s actions and beliefs to the point they’re cornered into submission is the right course of action.
Solutions and Conclusion
Given the layout of some of the ethical aspects that cancel culture provides, it is easy to hop on the mass train that is quick to endure the venture of making an organization or individual’s existence wiped off the face of society – so to speak. In the world of activists and politics, it’s a boycott of anything on the planet you disagree with, dislike, pretend to dislike, claim to be opposed to, or actually hate. On the contrary, this raises some challenges that can be approached with possible solutions to alternatives in committing such an idealistic ritual.
Take the example with J.K. Rowling – whether a person agrees with her views or not, the famous author took to Twitter to express her dubious claims on the transgender community. Is it justice to cancel her, or is it too extreme? Or, is there an alternative to avoiding mass cancellation altogether? Fear not, because there is indeed an alternative approach to this dilemma; one can simply not give a damn! J.K. Rowling has the right to stand her ground and believe whatever she wishes to believe, just as her fans and society have every right to not support her antics. However, there is ABSOLUTELY no need to try and cancel others; there’s no need to be cruel and adopt the tactics of cancellation, but there is a need to be principled and sincere.
Bottom line, a solution to the idea of mass cancellation should be to practice the concepts of virtue ethics. Virtue ethics doesn’t question how we act, but instead studies how we act as people. It observes the virtue or moral character of the person carrying out an action, rather than ethical duties and rules, or the consequences of particular actions. “Honesty, courage, compassion, generosity, fidelity, integrity, fairness, self-control, and prudence are all examples of virtues” (Alexander, E., 2020).
So what exactly does this mean for people that partake in the practices of cancel culture? Well, as mentioned before, everybody is entitled to their own set of beliefs and rituals, but those opposing the antics of someone, or an organization, shouldn’t be so hasty to hold them to an extreme account. As the ancient philosopher Aristotle suggested, “a person can improve his or her character by practicing self-discipline, while a good character can be corrupted by repeated self-indulgence.” Think back to J.K. Rowling; she indulged herself in the beliefs of transphobia, and corrupted her own-self image to the fandom of her epic franchise. Those deeming her accountable should worry about their own self-discipline in restraining their cruel practices of mass cancellation because canceling someone means treating them as disposable. That alone challenges the ethics of personal virtues.
In conclusion, society will always be left divided by the idea of cancel culture. We may think that we can shame people into being better, but that’s simply not the way matters work nowadays; a force of good for some, while a threat to free speech for others. Unfortunately, when we say anything these days, it’s hard to know when it will be offensive to just about anybody, and that is the mere reality of the matter.
12 celebs who were canceled in 2021, from Chris Noth to J.K. Rowling. South China Morning
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Matthews, C. (2020, July 10). The solution to JK Rowling. Medium. Retrieved February 7, 2023 from
Netflix review 2022 | streaming services guide | U.S. news. (n.d.). Retrieved February 1, 2023,
Sharf, Z. (2021, October 7). GLAAD, 'dear white people' EP slam Dave Chappelle's Anti-Trans
Special: 'dangerously transphobic'. IndieWire. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from
Toler, L. (2021, May 1). Cancel culture and its mental health effects. Verywell Mind. Retrieved
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