Session 1: what is cancel culture?

Welcome to the Burnet News Club sessions!

If you have missed a session at school or would like to recap what you have learnt, then work through the activities below.

STEP 1

Let's start with some questions...

  • Should people be able to say whatever they want? Yes/No/Maybe? Why?
  • Can opinions ever be wrong? Yes/No/Maybe? Why?
  • What makes something OK or not OK to say? Would everyone agree?

STEP 2

Think about these different scenarios.

Scenarios.png
  • Does the amount of people involved matter? Yes/No/Maybe? Why?
  • Challenge: how would the internet affect the scenarios?

STEP 3

Keywords!

Check out the keywords that you'll need for this session and the rest of the Issue

Cancel culture

If someone is “cancelled” it means that others stop listening to what they have to say or giving them support.

The people who disagree – or the “cancellers” – reject everything to do with the person being cancelled and encourage others to do the same. This could include trying to get their social-media accounts taken down, encouraging their workplace to fire them or asking their friends to stop speaking to them.

  • Freedom of speech

    Freedom of speech refers to the right that people have to share their opinions without being stopped or punished by law.

    Cancel culture might affect whether someone feels confident or not about sharing their opinions but it DOES NOT take away their right to freedom of speech.

  • Why would someone want to cancel someone else?
  • What examples of cancel culture have you seen in the news?

Can you come up with five reasons why someone might want to join in with cancel culture – for example, to feel more powerful or to show they disagree with an opinion. Rank your reasons from “most acceptable reason” to “least acceptable reason”.


STEP 4

Read these two fictional scenarios.

Scenario 1 Scenario 2
The leader of your country doesn’t like socks so it is illegal to talk about socks Socks are unpopular in your country but you can still talk about them
If someone tries to talk about socks they are arrested One person has started sharing information about why socks are great
People are scared to be involved with anyone who might mention socks Lots of other people think this is wrong and offensive, and say people talking about socks should be ignored
The law is so strict that some people have never heard of socks Soon, everyone is ignoring the person who likes socks and people are nervous to be seen with them
  • Which scenario shows freedom of speech? Which did not?
  • Which scenario shows cancel culture?
  • Why might some people think cancel culture affects their freedom of speech?

STEP 5

Think about these two imaginary worlds. Which one would you prefer to live in? Why?

Can you give reasons why someone would prefer to live in the other imaginary world?

world1.png

world2.png


Over to you

We'd love to hear what you think about the questions in this session. Read what other students think, reply to them and add your own ideas in the comment section below.

Comments (22)

  • Michael-Faraday-logo-250x250.jpg decisive_redcurrant | Michael Faraday School
    08 Jun 2021

    Hey there, decisive_redcurrant here today I will be answering step one questions here are my opinions
    STEP 1

    Let's start with some questions...

    Should people be able to say whatever they want? Yes/No/Maybe? Why?
    We have done the session in our classroom and we had had a huge debate on whether people should be able to say what Not they should not be able to say and we as a class in total we chose maybe the reason my group chose maybe it’s because people can say things that are offensive to others or that are hurting or the affecting others and way More And they are not get a notice for the bad things that they are doing we also chose why they shouldn’t be able to say whatever they want is because it could be fake people tend to spread a lot of fake news around for example in the Covid situation people said that all teachers had to be vaccinated but according to Boris that wasn’t true he said let’s try and get all teachers vaccinated fake news spreads around like A bird flying in the air very fast birds flying in the air and they go everywhere as So does fake news It spreads around quicker and quicker and quicker this is why my group said you shouldn’t be allowed to say whatever you like
    The reason why we did say should be able to say is because everyone has a voice why should you shut down your voice just to listen to someone else everyone has their own opinion and it’s good that you have your own opinion it makes it more independent and more engaged imagine if we all had one president in the world and we couldn’t say our opinions on anything we had to listen to that one person no one would like that and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t either You would want to say your opinion this is what my group said you should be allowed so what ever you want
    Can opinions ever be wrong? Yes/No/Maybe? Why?
    Me and my group had a very very interesting discussion about this and up till now I still don’t know the answer but our groups voted no.
    Any opinion can’t be wrong because anyone can guess for an opinion to be wrong it has to be factually wrong and in all today was I don’t think that’s necessary opinions in my opinion can’t be wrong as you thought of that and you are thinking that that is true no one can’t you answer your opinion is wrong if you believe in that opinion then you do It doesn’t Worry anyone else unless you know it is wrong but you still say it which is fake news this is why our group picked no
    What makes something OK or not OK to say? Would everyone agree?
    This question is a very interesting question and I think I have an answer for this something that makes an answer okay is Non-offensive language people get really hot if someone was to say something rude to them that they thought was that an opinion for example imagine if a man came up to you and said you people in this world are nothing but trouble yes that is their opinion but that could be really hurtful to you. Something that makes something not okay is when you are using the language that can hurt that person as I said before opinions can be good and can be bad and I think that everyone should have their opinion but shouldn’t use it in a bad way.

    Reply to this comment
  • Cheam Park logo quickwitted_groundhog | Cheam Park Farm Primary
    10 Jun 2021

    what was your favourite part of BNC so far .

    Reply to this comment
  • Bruntcliffe-logo-250x250.jpg wondrous_artist | Bruntcliffe Academy
    10 Jun 2021

    In my opinion, people can have the right to say what they want, under mild circumstances. An example of this is it could be for the greater good like informing an MP which could potentially make a change to benefit some people. It could be something to get people aware of major issues like climate change and deforestation. We all have a voice in society, it just depends how we use it. If we say something offencive for example it could hurt a lot of people and people should learn that if they have nothing nice to say then they shouldn't say it. ''Do what's right if you know that it's right, even if others may not agree.'' We shouldn't use our voice for being scornful however, we shouldn't be silenced. We all our entitled to have a voice and no one can take that away from us. More than ever we need our voices help spread positivity and awareness but not use it for the wrong reasons.

    Reply to this comment
  • Bruntcliffe-logo-250x250.jpg trusting_pie | Bruntcliffe Academy
    10 Jun 2021

    i dont like this

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ the BNC
      trusting_pie's comment 10 Jun 2021

      Can you say why, trusting_pie?

      Reply to this comment
    2. talkative_sea | Harris Academy Wimbledon
      trusting_pie's comment 10 Jun 2021

      Why disagree? perhaps instead of giving a negative opinion, give some constructive criticism. 🤷🏻‍♂️

      Reply to this comment
  • talented_pineapple | Harris Academy Wimbledon
    10 Jun 2021

    Wow you are all making very good points!

    Reply to this comment
  • Cheam Common logo champion_watermelon | Cheam Common Junior Academy
    11 Jun 2021

    In my opinion, occasionally people should be able to say what they desire for a good reason but not always : for example if people were aloud to say what they want people might go on about rasict slurs ,which is really offensive. But, if someone were to speak out for help or to express their opinion it would be absolutely fine. Speaking of what is ok, here is a list that should be banned to say if we could say whatever we like , rasism, sexisum , gender inequality , discrimination etc.

    If someone didn't agree with me I would just explain to them why I think what I think, for example if someone hated chocolate and I loved it I would just point out the pros and the cons of it for chocolate are
    ◑You can get addicted to chocolate
    ◐Posible sleeping sleeping issues
    ◑may contain caffeine
    ◐To much harmful for your health

    Pros are :
    ◑Can lower your stress level
    ◐Can lower your blood pressure
    ◑May lower risk for cardiovascular diseases
    ◑Might be better than other sweets

    Reply to this comment
  • Cheam Common logo jubilant_dinosaur | Cheam Common Junior Academy
    13 Jun 2021

    I believe that people should be able to say what they want and share their thoughts, feelings and opinions, as long as they don't say anything that could include: racism, harmful or swear words, rude comments etc. Also, you can have your own opinion, and even if it is different to others, It is still right for you, although it may not be correct in the real world, just like someone else's opinion is right to them, even if it is not right to you.

    Reply to this comment
  • Manor Park logo selfassured_journalist | Manor Park Primary Academy
    13 Jun 2021

    Hi, I wanted to share my thoughts on this.
    Step 1
    Should people be able to say what they want?
    Maybe, it depends on the tone and the intentions. A kind tone and intention is ok, whereas a mean tone and intention is not.
    Can opinions ever be wrong?
    No, they are just thoughts and ideas. Opinions are the way people see and understand things, they can differ but no opinion is really wrong.
    What makes something ok or not ok to say? Would everyone agree?
    Something is ok to say when the speaker has thought carefully before speaking and has considered how other people will feel. Something is not ok to say when the speaker just blurts out what they think and hasn't thought about what impact they will make. Not everyone will agree as we are all different and unique.
    Step 2
    1. I would explain to an unbiased person my view and although you might feel peer pressure, you should stick with your opinion. You deserve to be heard!
    2. I could be the fair, evaluative person for the person who disagrees. We are all humans and should be treated the same.
    3. In this case, you don't know who is just sticking with their opinion and who has given in to peer pressure. You should stay by your view. Even if everyone is against you, you can do something. Why not challenge them to give 3 valid reasons for their thoughts?
    4. This case makes you more relaxed. Knowing you are not alone will spur you into action. You will feel confident and cheerful.
    The number of people makes a big difference. Supporters make you feel confident so if you don't have supporters you will feel less confident.
    Step 3
    People could cancel others as:
    -They feel peer pressure
    -They wish to be spiteful
    -They have friends that are against your view
    -They disagree with you
    -They are trying to repay you for something you have done in the past
    Step 4
    Scenario 2 shows freedom of speech- people can talk about socks
    They both show cancel culture-in the first and second, people ignore those who talk about socks and/or leave them out.
    If one person secretly agreed with your view but saw that the majority of people disagreed they might lie. They do secretly agree, only that they fear bullying if they say what they really think.
    Step 5
    The first world someone might feel good in as if we never disagree, we won't be as likely to upset eachother, However, I would prefer the second world as it shows freedom of speech. Besides, we can learn to control the way we say things.
    Thanks for reading, selfassured_journalist

    Reply to this comment
  • The-Ruth-Gorse-logo-250x250.jpg helpful_wallaby | The Ruth Gorse Academy
    14 Jun 2021

    I think that cancel culture can sometimes be necessary and a way to ensure that people are exposed and praised for the right things.
    I think freedom of speech should be celebrated and used to its fullest in society to show people the positive news and opinions that they want to know about.
    Having a cancel culture could sometimes be too harsh as it could be built upon false claims or inaccurate recounts of stories, but in some very specific cases it is necessary for someone to lose their status, influence and recognition as a good person because they are not truthful about themselves, and could actually be a less favourable character.

    Reply to this comment
    1. Cheam Common logo clever_forest | Cheam Common Junior Academy
      helpful_wallaby's comment 16 Jun 2021

      Very nice helpful_wallaby! It is amazing! Overall I really like the first two sentences you wrote!

      Reply to this comment
  • The-Ruth-Gorse-logo-250x250.jpg jocular_apricot | The Ruth Gorse Academy
    14 Jun 2021

    In my opinion, people are able to say what they want. However, some things can be offensive such as racism, homophobia, sexism and ect to many people. It also depends on what intentions you have, for example, you could say something purposely offensive like a racist joke to someone to make them upset, which is not okay.
    No opinion is wrong but there can be people that agree and disagree to your opinion. Opinions are fine to say when you have carefully thought through what you will say rather than blurting out random thoughts that people can say 'you are cancelled'.

    Reply to this comment
  • The-Ruth-Gorse-logo-250x250.jpg spectacular_keyboard | The Ruth Gorse Academy
    14 Jun 2021

    In my opinion, I think that it depends on a specific situation whether someone can state what is on their mind. For example, if it is a situation where it is not hurtful or disrespectful towards anyone, then it is not offensive to state your personal opinion. However, in a situation where it can be seen as hurtful, damaging, disrespectful or racist, then people should not be able to say what is on their mind, because it can damage others, and apologizing later on can not fix what you have said to someone., even if you have learnt from your mistake, others might not be able to forget about it. This is because this can hurt their feelings for a long time, which is why you should always put yourself in others shoes before you say what is on your mind.

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ the BNC
      spectacular_keyboard's comment 14 Jun 2021

      Very thoughtful answer, spectacular_keyboard!

      Reply to this comment
  • The-Ruth-Gorse-logo-250x250.jpg balanced_singer | The Ruth Gorse Academy
    14 Jun 2021

    People should be able to say whatever they want. However, opinions can be wrong. Somethings are not okay to say when they offend people and the opinions are not widely accepted.

    In a group of people is involved they have the right to share their opinions. However, if the opinion is offensive then they do not have the right to share it.

    I think that cancel culture is good as it helps to hold people accountable and shows people on a wider scale that saying offensive and wrong things isn't right.

    Reply to this comment
  • Cheam Common logo wondrous_orca | Cheam Common Junior Academy
    14 Jun 2021

    I think people should be able to say whatever they want to say as long as it doesn't include racism, stereotyping, swear words, LGBTQ comments, rude remarks and discrimination. Opinions can be wrong because they are what you think, not facts but this doesn't mean that opinions always have to be wrong. I think that something is OK to say if it sets a positive example or if it introduces a new idea or anything that doesn't harm anyone. I think something is not OK to say if it is offensive.

    Reply to this comment
  • Cheam Common logo clever_forest | Cheam Common Junior Academy
    16 Jun 2021

    Hello! Clever_forest here!
    In this comment , I am going to share my opinions.

    Should people be able to say whatever they want? Yes/No/Maybe? Why?
    In my opinion I think I would say maybe because it depends on whether it is offensive to someone or not. For example if you say that you hate skirts , one person might take that seriously and offensive but another person might not think the same thing as the other person who might take it seriously and offensive.

    Can opinions ever be wrong? Yes/No/Maybe? Why?
    In my opinion I would say no. I said no because if someone doesn't like ice cream but someone else does , then they are physically correct because if someone likes ice cream then someone does and if someone doesn't like ice cream then they don't unless they are lying.

    What makes something OK or not OK to say?
    What makes somthing OK or not OK to say really just depends. If someone really takes somthing offensive , then it is not OK to say but if someone doesn’t take it seriously , then it is OK to say. Overall I would say it really just depends on someone’s opinion and someone else’s onpinon on whether or not they take it seriously.

    I hope you all enjoyed reading my opinions! :D

    Reply to this comment
    1. Upton-Cross-logo-250x250.jpg discreet_drum | Upton Cross Primary School
      clever_forest's comment 24 Jun 2021

      Everyone deserves the right to speak their mind, reject, protest and refuse. Freedom of speech is a basic part of art criticism, cultural criticism, and protects the right to protest and fight against what we don’t want, and to argue for what we do. People use opinions to guide their life actions. I think it’s everyone’s right to share their own opinions to challenge the cultural opinions. If you can’t handle the reality of violent words, how can you handle the reality of life’s violent interruptions?
      On the other hand, if everyone says what they want, It could get out of hand. What I mean by that, is that it could be racist and disrespectful to others, whether it’s about culture or just a normal conversation. It could also be hurtful - and some people could take it personally or misunderstand what they’re saying which could lead to arguments. If what you’re saying is wrong, people might believe it and it could cause a panic full of infodemics, as we’ve learnt in one of our past issues: Infodemics ‘During the Pandemic’. So, I believe that we have the right to say what we want, but we also have to be careful of what we say, which might be racist and disrespectful to others.

      Reply to this comment
  • The Sherwood School best_planet | The Sherwood School
    17 Jun 2021

    Hi my name is best_planet
    My opinions are
    Can opinions ever be wrong? Yes/No/Maybe? Why?

    Maybe as it depends on the comment because if it is a offensive comment then it is a wrong opinion also if it is a good comment then it is not a wrong comment

    Reply to this comment
  • Upton-Cross-logo-250x250.jpg discreet_drum | Upton Cross Primary School
    18 Jun 2021

    Everyone deserves the right to speak their mind, reject, protest and refuse. Freedom of speech is a fundamental part of art criticism, cultural criticism, and protects the right to protest and fight against what we don’t want, and to argue for what we do. We need to have opposing views co-existing with one another to free our minds and challenge us. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to let ‘political correctness’ make us afraid of sharing views that can contribute to critiquing our culture. People use opinions to guide their life actions. Freedom of speech is the gateway to being able to question consensus, and to challenge what is being presented as truth. I think it’s everyone’s right to share their own investigations and critiques, to challenge the cultural consensus. I will never be for protecting people from hate speech and having people rely on trigger warnings or safe spaces. If you can’t handle the reality of violent words, how can you handle the reality of life’s violent interruptions?
    On the other hand, if everyone says what they want, It could get out of hand. What I mean by that, is that it could be racist and disrespectful to others, whether it’s about culture or just a normal conversation. It could also be hurtful - and some people could take it personally or misunderstand what they’re saying which could lead to arguments. If what you’re saying is wrong, people might believe it and it could cause a panic full of infodemics, as we’ve learnt in one of our past issues: Infodemics ‘During the Pandemic’.

    Reply to this comment

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