How to deal with being called out
First steps when you’re called out
- Don’t tone police. It is NOT your right to dictate how someone should react to their oppression.
e.g. avoid reactions like “OK I get where you’re coming from but I just wish you weren’t so angry it doesn’t help your case”.
- 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 attack the person who’s calling you out. That’s just fucked up.
- Don’t get defensive; LISTEN. A call out is not all about you as a person. 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 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.
- Realise that your intent is irrelevant when it comes to whether you were oppressive or not.
e.g. avoid reactions like “oh I didn’t mean to upset you”.
- Recognise the power dynamics that are in place between you and the person calling you out.
- Understand intersectionality
e.g. just because you are oppressed by homophobia, 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.
Step 2: apologise
Step 3: work on it
Be the best person you can be: work to reduce the harm you cause.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 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 marginalised 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!
(parts of this post were taken from the now-defunct tumblr youarenotyou)