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Generation Z gets a bad rap – and rightfully so.
Employers and professors know they have to walk on eggshells when dealing with pampered students or new hires who seem offended by something new every day – and are ready to report them to HR or lambast them on social media social services for alleged transgressions.
It’s true that Generation Z is often at the forefront of cancel culture campaigns. But I bring good news: it is a tyranny of the minority. We’re not as horrible as our squeakiest wheels might suggest.
I know this myself as a Zoomer – but also from survey data that shows Gen Z actually has the the most negative view of the cancel culture of any generation.
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According to a Morning Consult survey, although younger Americans tend to have a more positive view of cancel culture, with Millennials being the generation most supportive of cancel culture, Zoomers are completely bucking that trend.
Only 8% of Gen Zers born between 1997 and 2008 say they have a positive view of Cancel Culture, while a whopping 55% have a negative view.
The fact is, when it comes to young people and cancel culture, it’s a real tyranny of the minority — and most of us are tired of dodging the tripwire of the PC.
I know this first hand. When I was 21, a student at NYU, I decided to write an opinion piece about the free speech crisis on campus for the New York Post. I prepared myself for the crowd to come for me.
Although I experienced some backlash on social media and lost a few friends, I was shocked to find that, even on my ultra-progressive campus, the response from the vast majority of community members was overwhelmingly positive .
I was heartened to see how many people came out of nowhere to support me, from former dorm neighbors to classmates to professors and even deans.
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Most conversations followed a similar trajectory: “Thank you for speaking out. I completely agree with you, but please don’t tell anyone we had this conversation.”
Surveys show that the majority of students self-censor on campus and fear harming their reputation.
If young people sit idly by and bite their tongues, they may never realize that like-minded and intellectually curious peers are surrounding them.
Cancel culture thrives on making everyone feel alone.
Young people are too afraid to venture out and take risks – and that’s understandable. We grew up in the age of social media, where one stupid misstep, even as a teenager, could turn your life upside down.
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This is why young people are overwhelmingly opposed to cancel culture. We desperately need to move from condemnation to forgiveness.
Unless we want to raise a generation of citizens who live in perpetual fear of being burned at the stake for saying or doing the wrong thing, we need to cancel culture once and for all.
We need to give people, especially young people, the freedom to experiment – and learn from their mistakes.
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It’s time to extend some grace and accept forgiveness so that more young people can develop their authentic voice and authentic self.
Courage is contagious. We cannot let the tyrants win.
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