The Challenge of Cancel Culture - [website] Email Print
Published: 14th of Apr 2021 by: Debbie Engelbrecht

You have undoubtedly heard the term "Cancel Culture" by now. The practice of simply annihilating and ostracising a person who has a different viewpoint to ours.

We effectively "cancel" them. We herd together to thrust them out of professional or social circles.

While we as individuals certainly have the right to choose who we spend our time and energy on, is it wise to eliminate input from others who disagree or see things differently to us though? How will we learn if we simply do this all the time?

I can hear the objections rolling in. "Yes but if my friend agrees with me we must be right" or even, "yes if everyone agrees with us, we must be right!" The answer is a simple "No, not necessarily!"

There are many instances where we are aware that the majority can be wrong. To illustrate just one, let me pose a hypothetical question. "Would you prefer a 25% annual increase in salary or an inflation related 7 or 8%?&"

What do you think the majority of answers are and what would happen to your company after a year or two if they were to comply with the majority vote? Effectively "cancel culture" leaves us all living dangerously close to the edge of irrelevance. We will become hardened in our viewpoints and unable to adapt new ways of thinking altogether.

Being an inclusive society that understands the driving force behind behaviours, that gets to unpack and spark debates and genuine human connection is essential if we are wanting to leave a better world for the next generation.

And when it comes to matters such as sexual harassment in the workplace, we need exactly that, a better world. We therefore need to debate and converse, understand and listen. We need to discuss and unpack and we need to understand the nuances and practicalities of gender equality.

Cancel Culture effectively and in the long term will eliminate our ability to learn and connect and to change and the one thing we know for sure, is that change is constant, inevitable and what was considered as okay yesterday, may very well not be considered as okay today, but how will we know, if we cannot make space for the viewpoint of another?

© Debbie Engelbrecht 2021

Debbie is the MD at Staff Training, providing soft skills and leadership training for South Africans since 2000. Should you wish for Staff Training to put together an annual training package for you covering aspects of management, wellness and self-mastery, please email

Staff Training is a South African soft skills training provider with more than 60 workshops on offer. Email us at for more info or give us a call at 0861 996 660

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