Surviving Cancel Culture
Updated: Sep 27, 2022
On Thursday, January 27, 2022, one student noticed the words, “POC [People of Color] Climbing Night” displayed on an LSU UREC television. Dismayed, she snapped a photo of it and posted it to her private Snapchat story with the caption, “Segregation at its finest.
The student, who will be referred to as Rachel for confidentiality, is an openly conservative sophomore who has never been shy about her views. She is confident in her thoughts and often shares them on social media.
“I am very firm in my beliefs; I am not swayed by people’s opinions or other people’s agendas,”
she said when retelling her story. Despite her confidence in herself, Rachel’s reputation was jeopardized when the wrong person saw her post and took matters into her own hands.
This was the first time Rachel herself would be canceled. She posted what she believed online, and those sensitive to the subject, consciously or not, ruined her reputation. Katelyn, a girl who Rachel has never met, reposted the story portraying Rachel as a racist. This accusation resulted in Rachel being harassed, threatened, and even kicked out of her sorority.
“(Sorority name), come get your girl,”
Katelyn posted on her public Snapchat story. Only two hours after the story was posted, Rachel was asked by her sorority to remove the post. However, despite the short amount of time it was up, her post had already spread like wildfire.
The sorority’s historian was notified of the situation and had a call with Rachel to understand her perspective on the situation. Rachel explained that the sorority merely wanted to “clear their name from the situation,” and they hardly cared about her.
A week later, the situation had only worsened. "YikYak," the notorious anonymous blogging app, was flooded with Rachel’s name, Instagram, and the sorority’s name and letters. While this was against Yik Yak’s anti-doxing policies, there were just too many comments flooding the LSU area to remove.
One particular post garnered many “upvotes,” defaming Rachel and posting her personal information to the public. The comment said,
“That racist in (Sorority name) is [Rachel] and ngl most of the PC class doesn’t like her nor support her racist ass views.”
A more astonishing comment read:
“[Rachel]who? We need last names people?? *waves Glock.*”
Rachel was truly feeling the heat of the “cancel culture” that she had heard so much about. “People are intolerant,”she said. They were slandering her name when she did not know them, and they did not know her.
Concerned by the attention, Rachel confronted Katelyn and asked her why she had called her out in her post; she was only met with animosity: “Babe, listen,” she began, “I’m not sure if you just don’t know, but POC have had it a little worse than white people.”
Rachel finally spoke in her defense, citing the definition of segregation as, “The literal act of segregating, the action or state of setting someone or something apart from other people.”
Katelyn replied, “You are closed minded. And that’s such an issue...”
“It was just a big mess,” Rachel said of the situation, although there were some silver linings. Even though she was canceled, she stood up for what she believed in and refused to back down.She addressed the toxicity of social media and how it went from being a good thing to a bad thing very fast.
“The people that are screen-shotting this, just like the black squares, are doing it because they have the savior mentality.”
Rachel emphasized that the people who had harassed, threatened, and called her names were mostly internet trolls who knew nothing about her or the situation.
Rachel recalled herself on the phone with her mother saying, “Mom, this is happening to other people. I’m not a big fish in a little pond right now." She recognized how rare it is to have this opportunity to make a difference in the way people see free speech.
She also knew that she wasn’t alone. Finding people in Turning Point USA, she said, helped her find her “own little escape.” Turning Point is a non-partisan, non-profit that focuses on the support of students with conservative American values on all campuses around the United States. She emphasized that Turning Point was essential to overcoming her situation, and she was lucky to have had people that had her back.
“I’m glad it’s happening to me, but I’m not glad it’s happening in general. It’s an experience that I wouldn’t go back and change.”
Please note: the Soapbox is NOT affiliated with LSU, nor is it affiliated with on-campus organizations (such as Turning Point USA). We are an independent newsletter located in Baton Rouge, catering to LSU students.