Alexi McCammond's Resignation Shows The Ugly Side Of Cancel Culture – And Who It Hits Hardest

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Alexi McCammond

Alexi McCammond, who was to become the third Black woman to serve as Teen Vogue’s top editor, recently issued her resignation following myriad racist and homophobic tweets that she had posted over a decade ago.

The tweets have since been deleted, and the now 27-year-old McCammond had also apologized on multiple occasions for her teenage views.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough, and the throes of cancel culture immediately caught up with McCammond.

This entire debacle raises the question of who is exempt from cancel culture — and who suffers the hardest?

It’s understandable that McCammond should face repercussions for her actions, especially in a time when violence and harassment directed towards Asian-Americans is at an all-time high. But, it was revealed that during the hiring process before Condé Nast decided to employ McCammond, top executives like Anna Wintour and Roger Lynch, along with the chief content officer and global editorial director of Vogue, were aware of the tweets.

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McCammond had acknowledged the tweets during her interviews, and Anna Wintour along with the other company executives felt her apology in 2019 showed she had learned from her mistakes.

So what changed? Why are some people given the all-clear and allowed to move on (see: Woody Allen) and forget about their problematic pasts, while others are not given the same luxury? 

Anna Wintour has a long history of excluding Black creatives from her magazine. She has not given enough space to Black editors, writers, photographers, and designers. She has been accused on multiple occasions of even cultivating racist work environments as well.

So where is Anna Wintour’s condemnation? Why is no one urging for her resignation?

The simple answer is that cancel culture is rooted in whiteness. 

RELATED: Why Cancel Culture Is Rooted In Whiteness

People will scream from the rooftops that we should get rid of this notion of "canceling" people — that it is unfair treatment and doesn’t allow for people to grow. But as soon as a Black person makes a mistake, those cries for abolishing cancel culture are suddenly silent, despite the term itself originating in the Black community. 

Redemption is the one thing that people cannot live without. We need to offer redemption once mistakes are made, and allow for people to be able to grow and learn from their mistakes. It is scary and dangerous for people to walk around not believing in redemption or second chances.

There should be room for accountability, and there should be room for forgiveness. 

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It seems  the minute a Black person makes a mistake, society is quick to jump on us and label us the “bad guys." It feels like an excuse to shove us back down to the bottom of the ladder.

There is no excuse for people who utter racist comments and, of course, there should be consequences. But Alexi McCommand was a teenager when she wrote those tweets, and she is now an adult who has worked to prove that she is not that person anymore at a publication dedicated to teaching anti-racism to young people.

McCommand was not given a chance to prove to Teen Vogue and the rest of the world that she has changed for the better.

It is truly heartbreaking to know that such an exciting and monumental opportunity was outshone by the negative attributes of cancel culture.

We need to take this time to really evaluate what it means to hold someone accountable without giving them room to grow and learn from their past mistakes. 

We can’t expect people to change if we don’t give them the space to do so.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Chicago. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.