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What You Always Wanted to Know About Call-Out Culture

If you’ve ever been on the internet over the past few years, you’ve heard about call-out culture. All across social media, you’ll see posts about politicians, business owners, and celebrities being “called out.”

Call-out culture has a bad reputation, but it doesn’t deserve it. It’s a way to open up online conversations about what we as a society should and shouldn’t consider acceptable behavior.

But what is call-out culture, and why can it actually be beneficial even beyond traditional social justice movements? Let’s talk about it. Read on to learn more.

Call-Out Culture vs. Cancel Culture

Many people believe that call-out culture and cancel culture are the same. While they have some similarities, and some people blur the lines between the two, they have different purposes (and ideally, results).

Cancel culture aims to “cancel” businesses, celebrities, politicians, or other individuals for their actions. Often it’s due to the person or entity doing something racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or otherwise discriminatory. There’s no intention of restorative justice.

There’s some dispute as to whether or not “cancel culture” actually exists. Most celebrities who are “canceled,” for example, still maintain their careers and fame after the “cancelation” happens. This happens even if it was for a good reason (such as Chris Brown’s abusive behavior toward former partner Rihanna).

Call-out culture starts similarly. People still call out celebrities and other people or businesses for their behavior on social media, but it’s with the intention of spreading information and change. Restorative justice is the goal.

Pros of Call-Out Culture

Call-out culture has plenty of benefits as long as it’s used correctly. It has the potential to push forth modern civil rights movements and has done so in the past.

If a business is displaying problematic behavior regarding diversity and inclusion, for example, people can call this out so consumers know where to avoid spending their money or applying for jobs.

If the business owner is genuinely apologetic, they can prove it by starting a DEI initiative and issuing a genuine apology with a promise to change their actions.

Call-out culture is a way to define what is and isn’t acceptable in our current culture and enact change. If people and businesses don’t know that something is wrong, they’ll never change it.

Because call-out culture is restorative, there’s always a way for people and businesses to redeem themselves.

Cons of Call-Out Culture

Call-out culture isn’t perfect, but its imperfections tend to stem from a misunderstanding of what it means. Because people often conflate call-out culture and cancel culture, they may end up “canceling” someone who has the potential to grow.

Call-out culture is often used against people by businesses and politicians who want to avoid consequences. They’ll mock call-out culture and inspire their followers to do the same, which worsens its reputation.

Call-Out Culture: Do You Participate?

In short, call-out culture has a lot of potentials. We should always strive to better ourselves and our society. If that means that we need to publicly call out bad behavior, so be it.

If you participate in call-out culture, what’s your experience with it? Tell us in the comments below!

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