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Cancel Culture: How Does This Societal Trend Affect People, For Better or For Worse?


When former President Barack Obama called out "woke" "cancel culture" in a speech last month, social media exploded. Reaction was also swift and passionate in newspaper editorials and on television talk shows — many thanked him for encouraging more forgiveness in our society,while others were angry, saying his views were out of touch.

"Cancel culture" or the related "callout culture" — terms used on college campuses for some time — are now entering the mainstream lexicon. They refer to the phenomenon of someone being shunned or shamed for saying or doing something that is not considered appropriate or politically correct. It's applied when young people on social media shut out a peer who has offended others, or when a politician or celebrity does something unacceptable by today's standards and becomes "canceled," often losing their job or their following.

We'll discuss what political correctness means today and whether the idea of ideological purity has gone too far.


Judith Rosenbaum, associate professor, department of sommunication and journalism, University of Maine

Theo Greene, assistant professor of sociology, Bowdoin College; secretary and treasurer, section on sexualities, American Sociological Association

Liz Theriault, opinion editor, University of Maine student newspaper, The Maine Campus

Amy Wood (by phone), psychologist, author, speaker, executive coach



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