For People Who Got Called Out For Doing Something Problematic
“Callout culture” is starting to get a bad rep and being silenced with a general umbrella of being “annoying” or a part of a liberal PC narrative, but it can transform into a super supportive dialogue, change, and higher acceptance. Sit back and humble yourself!
Okay, so you’ve been confronted with an ugly mirror, accused of being racist/homophobic/sexist/transphobic or otherwise (buzz word alert) problematic. Here’s a helpful guide with how to react!
1) Pause, don’t jump on the defense. If you don’t consider yourself a racist/sexist/homophobic otherwise person, now is not the time to exclaim that in all capital letters or reference your various non-white, non-straight friends as evidence. Literally leave them the fuck alone. If you Don’t consider yourself that type of person, then act how that type of person would. LISTEN. (buzz word alert) Validate this outside experience because it is different from yours, and if you don’t mean to hurt them, this is a great learning opportunity.
2) Apologize! Not a shitty “i’m sorry this offended you but… here’s my dumbass excuse” NAH! We need a genuine, oh shit, I am sorry I HURT you. I am sorry I IGNORED you. I’m sorry I am not better educated and suited to be mindful of your.. um basic existence enough to properly support and care for you.
3) ASK. Follow up your apology with a question. How can I be better in the future? What would you prefer me to do? Chances are, you genuinely don’t know, and that’s cool. You were probably raised in a sexist/racist/homophobic society like we all were and don’t know any better, or what else there is to do. You may not have known people who were tolerant, or knew people who put the highest bar as mere tolerance. Time to wake up and actually care about people other than your immediate demographic. It’s humbling, but you gotta ask. How can I be better? What should I stop doing? Where can I go to learn more? Maybe though, don’t ask the person directly impacted from your actions as that is super demeaning, they are already in a an emotional state and frankly aren’t obligated to help you learn your lesson. There are plenty of other people and resources out there!!
3) Lastly and most importantly, educate yourself. You need to baseline learn about other people’s experience, and CHA-CHING, the best way to do that is by listening to people who have different nuanced experiences in White America TM. There are an ABUNDANCE of talented, outspoken activists, reporters, writers, officials, and artists who make work that will enlighten you, inspire you, and hopefully change you.
4) Lastly, forgive yourself for not knowing better. Empower yourself to change, keep learning, and keep seeking new information. Unfortunately, most of us inherited biases & prejudices from our parents and community and if you are just leaving the house and said community, it takes effort to readjust your thinking and take a different course in life.
Privilege is not chosen, but it can be realized, and used to benefit those around you. As a white person in White America TM, there is ALWAYS more to learn, and ALWAYS room to improve, and always more to give, bc you are sitting on a whole ass history founded on oppression that you benefit from without you having to do anything, do not take that lightly.
Seriously But as a side note— please don’t think that doing any of this grants you endless love and praise. This is the new standard and we will accept nothing less, you don’t get a cookie for being a basic human being.
Love Love love