rape culture

Roll Call: The Effects of Call Out Culture

What was supposed to be an action that held those accountable for using their positions or words to hurt others has turned into an action in which we have now turned against each other; the people who were supposed to call out wrongdoers.

If you are not familiar with "call out culture," let me assistance. Asam Ahmad wrote a piece for Briarpatch (Link to article found here) magazine last year where he defines call-out culture:

Call out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists or regular people who have access to the internet to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behavior and language by others. 

Call-out culture was originally supposed to be an action where others who had used language or partook in actions that hurt others would then be called out by individuals in society so they could learn from their actions. Calling someone out was supposed to educate them on what they did wrong, why it was wrong and why it was hurtful to others. If the action was horrendous enough those who called the individual out would expect a consequence. For example, an employee losing his job or an athlete sitting out and missing a couple of games.

People have started to abuse the action of calling someone out, thus creating call-out culture where anyone who says something that someone does not agree with can experience backlash and come under attack. What typically happens with call-out culture is people start attacking and swarming the person on social media and sometimes in real life. It is the individual's behavior behind call-out culture that is problematic because it is generally a one-sided argument and tends to involve vulgar or offensive language against the person.

A person's personal reactions or disagreements have become coded as a defense in the name of doing good, it has become "oh, you didn't do this the way I wanted" or "you didn't say this the way I wanted". It has become less beneficial as people are experiencing hateful language just because they said something that others didn't agree with. As Americans, we are allowed freedom of speech, it's one of the main rights that are heavily guarded besides the right to bear arms. Yet, people are still being attacked for not twisting their language to appeal to everyone.

The excuse of a person partaking in call-out culture saying that the recipient is simply taking it personal and that they are emotional has become prevalent. It is not a matter of people taking it personally but has become a matter of people taking respect out of the situation. Call-out culture in so many words has removed the action of respecting someone else.

People partaking in call-out culture is worse on certain social media platforms, the main ones being Twitter and Facebook, both have become prime venues where call-out culture has taken on a life of its own. Call-out culture intertwines with harassment once social media is involved as someone is then able to constantly "troll" that person and their post or what they have said. Given the fact of how Twitter and Facebook are set up as social media platforms, they allow for easy harassment of others where the action becomes a performance and makes the person a spectacle.

The effects of call-out culture are not visible, but once a person experiences being attacked or swarmed on social media or in their daily life the person may not to be as vocal as they were once before. Call-out culture hinders freedom of speech as the person then does not want to experience call-out culture again so they are then careful of what to say and who to say it to. While many may see people hindering their speech as a victory, if there are people experiencing and being affected by call-out culture just because people do not agree with them, then the act of calling people out becomes pointless.

The action of "calling in" has started to become more frequent. Calling in means speaking privately with an individual who has done something wrong (Asam Ahmad - Briarpatch). Calling in is more beneficial and educational versus calling out. Calling in requires a person to reach out and interact with the person, whereas call-out culture falls short in addressing the behavior or statement of the person, calling in picks up the slack. Yet, why do we need another term to represent the actions of call-out culture? Calling in was what calling out was supposed to be before people decided to abuse it.

You can call people out and educate them at the same time. You can call someone out in a respectable manner, we need to get back to trying to help others instead of looking for an audience and putting on a spectacle in order for call-out culture to improve.