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The Danger & Inefficacy of Call-Out Culture


What do you do when you feel wronged?

Do you approach the person or group that wronged you and express your hurt and complaint? Or do you take to your social network of choice and blast the offender for his/her misdeeds?

A “call-out” is the term used to refer to the latter type of response. “Call-Out Culture” is a phrase that has been coined to describe our current state of affairs where this type of public shaming has become common and acceptable behavior.

Asam Ahmad describes this tendency, along with its dangers, in his incisive article What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic. Therein, he not only explains the unlikelihood of the call-out to affect any desired change, but he also provides an alternative methodology that may prove to be more corrective and healing.

“In the context of call-out culture,” Ahmad writes, “it is easy to forget that the individual we are calling out is a human being.” The public announcement of his/her perceived offense is therefore not only shaming, it is also dehumanizing. The effect is to distance the person, and thus to severely handicap any likelihood for productive dialogue.

Ahmad therefore suggests “calling-in” as a more humane and productive alternative. “Calling-in means speaking privately with an individual who has done some wrong, in order to address the behaviour without making a spectacle of the address itself.”

The question seems to be the intended outcome. If one’s goal is simply to express one’s rage and to demonize one’s perceived opponent, or to publicly declare one’s moral superiority in comparison to the less evolved others that victimize him/her, then the call-out is particularly effective. But if one is seeking either a remedy for the offense, and/or a greater level of understanding between oneself and the other, then calling-in is clearly a preferable tactic.

You can read Asam Ahmad’s important article here, or by clicking on the image above.

(Thank you to Commoner Arno Michaelis for sharing this article with the CP community!)

Marc Erlbaum, Contributor

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