Why Conservatives Love Cancel Culture Just As Much As 'Woke' People

Photo: Getty Images
examples of conservative cancel culture

Conservatives, Republicans, right-wingers, and pretty much anyone who watches Fox News all love to lament the ways they believe “cancel culture” is ruining America.

What they typically won’t tell you, however, is that they do it too — and possibly even more often than “snowflake” liberals.

In fact, they basically invented the act of "canceling."

This use of the term “cancel” originates from a line in 1991 film "New Jack City," later gaining popularity on Black Twitter after being used by Cisco Rosado during an episode of VH1's "Love and Hip-Hop: New York."

However, the act of raging against something deemed inappropriate or wrong is nothing new.

From the Salem Witch Trials right up to the moment Colin Kaepernick took a knee and beyond, conservatives have attempted to silence, boycott, and even kill those they disagree with.

Cancel culture has become an umbrella term encompassing everything from bad tweets made 10 years ago to full-blown felonies, and while it has become a political grenade often used to condemn the left for being easily "triggered," conservatives are guilty too.

Cancel culture has become the ultimate self-defense mechanism for conservatives.

The war against leftist cancel culture has become a means for Republicans to defend racist, transphobic, misogynistic, or otherwise offensive actions.

Where “woke” people cancel others for engaging in acts they deem politically incorrect, conservatives will rage right back, practicing a cancel culture of their own.

RELATED: What Does 'Woke' Mean? The History, Definition & Cultural Meaning Of Being Woke

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Republican supporters blamed cancel culture when she was criticized for racist social media posts and QAnon theories.

"Everyone has said things they wish they didn't say, everyone has done things they wish they didn't do," said Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan. "So who's next? Who will the cancel culture attack next?"

Taylor Greene later paid it forward by showing her support for Rep. Matt Gaetz amidst the ongoing investigation into allegations he was involved in child sex trafficking, an investigation some are attempting to pass off as merely an attempted cancellation.

The term, which began as a means of boycotting controversial people, brands, or topics online has been overstretched by conservatives in an attempt to forgive their favorites' inexcusable behavior.

If you’re being criticized in a way that you don’t like, the playbook seems to say, simply paint yourself as a victim of cancel culture and you’ll get off scot-free by appealing to the conservative masses.

RELATED: Why Cancel Culture Is Rooted In Whiteness

Cancel culture looks different when you face the right.

When the tables are turned and the left is doing, saying, or changing something conservatives don’t agree with, public bashing becomes socially acceptable in right-wing circles.

Liberals cancel in an attempt to protest against what they see as acts of sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia, while conservatives cancel in way that appears to uphold such prejudices.

In 2019, when Nike included Colin Kaepernick in their advertising after the former NFL player took a knee during the national anthem in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, conservatives raged.

It wasn’t enough that Kaepernick had already been ousted from the NFL for his activism — conservatives also decided to boycott the sportswear brand.

Some even filmed themselves burning Nike products.

Target was the victim of conservative cancel culture when they announced that they would not discriminate against transgender people by allowing customers to use whatever bathroom corresponds to their gender.

In response to the policy, which was made by a private corporation, right-wing groups announced they would boycott the chain.

“Freedom of speech,” the go-to conservative defense, didn’t seem to apply to Kathy Griffin when Trump supporters demanded she lose all her gigs after she tweeted her now-infamous photo of herself holding a fake decapitated and bloody head meant to look like that of then-President Donald Trump.

When Beyonce’s “Formation” music video and Super Bowl performance featured commentary about racist police killings and Black Lives Matter, the conservative blowback was unforgiving.

Fox immediately went on the attack and a Florida police union voted to boycott the singer’s Miami concert.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

RELATED: Why Matt Gaetz Seems To Be Everything Republicans Claimed About Hunter Biden

White conservatives have been cracking the whip literally and figuratively for decades but are still quick to lodge complaints against cancel culture when it suits their agenda.

Cancel culture is a menace of their own devising that only seems to become public enemy number one when liberals exert control in spaces where conservatives thought they had all the power.

If both sides are doing it, what is the problem?

“Canceling” is no new phenomenon. The concept of boycotting has been exercised by people of all political backgrounds for decades.

It is a means of democracy that allows people to chose who and what they want to put their money and support behind.

Within the marketplace of ideologies, cancel culture is just one of the many ways we create and express new thought.

An awareness of how hypocritically the term “cancel culture” is often applied on both sides of the political fence is necessary. And a simmering down of forced cancel culture is also necessary.

But it is not necessarily useful or productive to “cancel” cancel culture altogether.

We must have debates. We must have discussions with people whose views are different than our own.

We just don’t have to do it so aggressively and dichotomously.

RELATED: Should We 'Uncancel' Lori Loughlin And Olivia Jade?

Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment. Follow her on Twitter for more.