I recently came across an article titled: What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic. This attack on call-out culture is very popular right now. There was even an article in Time magazine about it. It's like anyone who calls anyone else out is currently being called out themselves. I'm not hearing much, however, about the plus sides of call-out culture. I do believe there is another side to every thing. Here are some of the plus sides of call-out culture that I see:
- Keeps us from voting for the wrong president
- Holds people accountable, especially those holding public offices or in positions of power. There are some people who repeatedly get away with bad behavior because nobody says anything. I would choose to live in the throes of call-out culture than live in a society where you are rendered silent or you are too afraid to say anything.
- Lets people know what behavior, words or actions are inappropriate. Believe it or not, not everyone is socially intelligent. People with personality disorders, especially Narcissists, will continue to behave in appalling ways or say hurtful things unless others set a boundary with them or repeatedly let them know that it's not okay.
- Let's us know who's safe or not safe. It's a good thing that Jerry Sandusky was called out on his sexual abuse of children, for example. It's a good thing that Bill Cosby was called out by comedian Hannibal Buress as it led to many survivors of sexual assault finally feeling heard and also let us know that some people believes that one man's "legacy" is more important than bringing the issue of sexual assault on women out of the shadows.
- Let's us know where other people stand on issues.
- Let's us know that there are other cultures out there other than our own and other viewpoints out there other than our own which may make us less judgmental and provincial. In this way, we can learn about acceptance and unity. To say that a culture that always says the politically correct thing or that keeps most of their feelings/thoughts unexpressed is superior to a culture that just calls you out on the carpet, is close-minded and may even be racist.
- Helps us learn not to take things personally. After all, what's being said says more about the person saying it than who they are saying it about.
- Helps us to not feel alone or feel less shameful/confused/scared l if someone has the courage to call out someone when we either didn't have the words or the strength to do so but felt the same way about the person being called out.
- Helps us find the balance between repressing our feelings and thoughts and speaking out on them. It's not good mental health on a personal level or a societal level if people feel that they must not say anything for fear or repercussion, social death or other feared consequence. Repressed feelings can become physical disease or can build up to an explosion such as a mass shooting.
- Can help us change policies and unequities. Where would we be as a society if there weren't whistle blowers who speak out about sexual harassment on the job? Where would we be if we didn't have people brave enough to advocate and speak out for abused and neglected children, elderly or animals? When we blow the whistle or speak out against abuse, we are in essence calling out the abuser(s).
- Can help bring the truth to light and encourage others to speak their truths when others don't want to see it, accept it or acknowledge it. People usually deny your experience of someone because they have a different experience of that person. But that doesn't make your experience any less true. For example, females tend to bully by exclusion. Well, if you are the person being excluded, no one is going to validate your experience of the ring leader because they don't want to align themselves with the person on the outs and be excluded as well. Scientology thrives on this concept. Another example is when someone denies your experience of sexual abuse because they weren't abused themselves or can't imagine the abuser doing what they did.
- Can, believe it not, help develop compassion in our society. Unless a person is a psychopath, narcissistic, sociopath, or other category of person that lacks empathy and may never develop it, we all have the potential to develop our compassion towards others who are suffering without having to suffer with the same affliction or circumstance as well. When someone is calling someone else out, they are doing it for a reason. Their motivation could come from a good place or could come from a state of suffering. Perhaps, if we listened to the tears underneath the anger and rage rather than dismissed such people as "crazy" or "monsters" or any other negative label, we could learn something about the human experience even if we didn't experience it ourselves. There are many forms of trauma to be had. Most of us have been traumatized at some point in our life. Trauma can manifest as many things such as Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, violence, bullying, health issues, and many other negative states and conditions. I've heard people use the word "Bipolar" in a pejorative sense saying such things as "my bipolar boss." But some of the most amazing people in our history have had Bipolar Disorder. There can be a genetic component but there can also be a trauma component.
I do believe that people can take it too far or call-out with a "bad" intention of doing harm, humiliating, controlling, manipulating, or publically shaming others. But if the intention behind the call-out is to inform, to improve lives, to protect, to make people think of another side of the issue, to express our own experience, to challenge the status quo or bring a level of accountability to the table, then perhaps call-out culture isn't all bad.