How to deal with being called out
- Don’t tone police. It is NOT your right to dictate how someone should react to their oppression.
- Don’t demand a detailed explanation. You’re basically asking the person to justify their call out. It’s exhausting, many resources are available, and often this is just a way to try and derail, start an argument, or discredit the other person.
- Don’t get defensive. A call out is not all about you as a person.
- Don’t take it personally. Calling out is not a personal attack. If someone calls you out, they’re trying to teach you something. Calling out is a way for people to educate others on how systems of oppression operate on a day to day, individual level.
- Don’t attack the person who’s calling you out. That’s just fucked up.
- Don’t assume the person calling you out is just “looking to get offended”. Nobody enjoys calling other people out. To call someone out, people often have to mentally prepare for serious repercussions. Calling someone out might mean starting an argument, during which many people will side with the oppressor by default (especially if you’re privileged over the person calling you out).
- Understand that being oppressive is not the same as being offensive or hurting feelings. The damage you’re perpetuating is part of a larger system of oppression.
- Realize that your intent is irrelevant when it comes to whether you were oppressive or not.
- Recognize the power dynamics that are in place between you and the person calling you out.
- Understand intersectionality. IE: Just because you are oppressed by classism, doesn’t mean you lack male privilege.
- Know that being privileged means being oppressive, but you can work to reduce the ways that you are oppressive.
- Genuinely apologize.
- Work on oppression reduction and being the best ally you can be. The point of calling you out is to draw your attention to how you’re being oppressive, so that you can work to change it. If you made an oppressive joke, there’s probably oppressive thoughts in place (conscious or not) that led to you to think the joke was appropriate. Everyone has to unlearn the oppressive things they’ve absorbed from an oppressive society. We are all taught ways to keep marginalized people in their place, but the good thing is that we can identify these things in ourselves and change. And then we can start working on dismantling the kyriarchy, yeah!
Feel free to add to this or change as necessary.
15. When you apologise, the marginalised person doesn’t owe you shit. Least of all, to accept your apology, if ever. If they don’t accept your apology, move on. It’s the least you can do.
I would suggest another (though I have a lot of privilege, so anyone should feel free to disagree):
16. Should you do all of these things, and decide to make a change in the way you do things (i.e. a different comment moderation policy etc) don’t just expect the person who called you out to educate you on how to do it. It’s not their job.
Also: Print this out. Laminate it. Stick it on your wall.
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