Over the past few years, many people, especially those of the younger generations, have took it upon themselves to become more educated about social justice issues. Now, there’s is a huge amount of people who speak up against issues like racial inequality, homophobia, misogyny, and more. Being educated on social and world issues has become vital for many young people, with social media being a huge platform. As a result, the online “call out culture” has been created.
Call out culture refers to activists and social justice warriors publicly calling out oppressive behavior and language that are portrayed and used by other people. Call out culture allows activists to bring discriminatory behavior to light and results in scrutiny towards those being called out.
Although the act of calling out oppressive behavior, especially when it would normally go unnoticed, is great in concept, the reality of it is actually extremely problematic. Instead of becoming a way to shine a lit on discrimination, call out culture has now become a way for people to simply show how educated they are and to attack others online. For example, something that happens quite often is that old, ignorant posts from a celebrity are dug up and spread around. People start to attack that celebrity for something they said years ago and hold it against them for as long as possible.
If you say something ignorant, you should apologize, no matter what. However, the habit of attacking someone for a post made years ago leads activists to completely ignore the fact that people grow, change, and learn.
Also, there have been many times where activists have twisted the words of someone else to make what they said seem problematic. Activism is about standing up for an issue you are passionate about; it is not about going out of your way to make someone else look like a bad person, and to make yourself look “holier than thou”.
Certain activists, especially those on social media, say that they value education, but refuse to understand how learning works. No one is born “woke”. We’ve all said problematic things in our past. Hopefully, we’ve all learned since then and know better now.
It’s extremely important that people don’t get away with being ignorant and discriminatory. It is important that those people get called out and face the consequences; however, sometimes people lose track of what activism is. Call out culture has become a way for people to show off how smart they are and attack people rather than educating. This behavior isn’t pushing us forward at all and needs to change.