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The generation being silenced by cancel culture

Cancel culture is increasingly silencing the views of ordinary Aussies in everyday conversations, new research shows.

And younger generations are falling victim to self-censorship more than older Australians, a new report, Australians Together, from social demographer Mark McCrindle and Mainstreet Insights shows.

On the other hand, the national survey of 1000 Australians found people are generally optimistic that the country will be more united in the next few years, particularly compared to overseas.

 

Overall more than three in five Australians - 65 per cent - believe that cancel culture has affected when and with whom they can share their opinions.

The subjects that we now feel we have to hide our true opinions on include "hot topics" - controversial issues featured in the news - as well as political views and religious beliefs.

Some of the hot topics from 2020 coming under self-censorship include racial equality, BLM protests, social issues, gay conversion therapy and ethics around embryonic stem cell research relating to COVID vaccines.

People aged under 25, or Gen Z, were 77 per cent likely to self-censor their opinions "due to the rise of cancel culture".

And 79 per cent say they have "struggled to be their authentic self" for fear of judgment or exclusion.

That compares with older Australians - the so-called "Builders" born before 1946 - who were 50 per cent likely to censor themselves and 32 per cent likely to have struggled to be "authentic".

Social demographer Mark McCrindle. Picture: Jordan Shields
Social demographer Mark McCrindle. Picture: Jordan Shields

"The majority of Australians are saying they struggle to be authentic," Mr McCrindle said.

"They've self-censored, we live in an era of judgment and cancel culture and it's having an impact on speech and how freely they're engaging.

"We don't have the freedom to be who we truly are and express what we want due to the angst on social media or the judgmentalism that exists in the broader society."

Overall, 54 per cent of respondents, quizzed during the last week of November, agreed with the statement "I have hidden my perspective on topical issues because I'm afraid of how people will respond".

Sixty six per cent of cent Gen Ys (born 1980-1994) say they've previously hidden their perspective on topic issues because they're afraid of how people will respond, compared with 55 per cent of Gen Xs (born 1965-1979), 35 per cent Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) and 33 per cent of the Builders generation.

"More than a quarter say they do hide their opinion - there used to be the old thing about avoiding religion and politics - but there's one above that now, hot topics," Mr McCrindle said.

"It can be very visceral in arguments and people are trying to steer clear."

The report did uncover high levels of optimism among Australians that the nation will become more "united" in the next three years, with 59 per cent of Australians believing that will be the case. However 52 per cent said they believed the US will become more divided.

Originally published as The generation being silenced by cancel culture


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