Sunday, 17 May 2015

Crocodile "Call Out Culture" Tears

"Call out culture" is really people saying "these marginal people are pushing back and I don't want to deal with it." -@bad_dominicana

This obsession with trying to create a discourse about your hurt feelings rather than do ally legwork would be almost funny if it wasn't so ridiculous. I mean really? "call - out - culture" (brb while I write a paper on “Netflix & pizza takeaway culture”). For the love of god can people stop adding the word "culture" at the end of things for no damn reason. Imagine thinking it's more productive to take time to construct a debate about how people's call outs should be nicer, rather than getting involved with activity to make people want be better allies. Well I don't have to imagine, cuz this is apparently a thing.

Every time I hear someone complaining "call out culture" I think back when I used to look after kids. See, once in a while two kids will be playing nicely until one of them upsets the other making them cry. Then the kid that made the other kid cry suddenly thinks "oh crap" then starts to cry themselves, often even louder to shift the attention onto themselves.

My mum used to call them crocodile tears, aka the tears you cry when you've done something wrong but don't want to take responsibility for it.

I'd like to think people grew out of that kind of behaviour, but apparently not. I'm still scrolling through social media hearing people bang on about "call out culture", rolling my eyes so far back to the future and thinking "whose croc tears am I collecting now?".

Because it’s usually coming from someone who has somehow made themselves the victim of unfair hardship rather than rectifying the harm they've created. People who would rather get caught up in tone-policing how marginalised groups stand up for themselves in the face of discrimination, instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. Self proclaimed "Activists" who rather spend time justifying their apologism, digging themselves a deeper hole in the bin, like they actually believe the world would be sucked into the sun if they'd admitted that they had fucked up.

It's really strange when it's the same people who talk about owning the right to be angry and take to the streets, and find radical ways to hold people in power to account when it comes to class warfare, who then turn around and moan about how marginalised groups are being a bit too harsh when they call out oppressive behaviour. Like, are you for real?

Pro tip: Don't be that person.

Be that person who thinks "I've done something shit, I'm going try and educate myself and make up for it." It's literally not the end of the world. This is not an accountability session at the gates of heaven, it's just someone taking the time to actually try to help you rectify something you’ve done.

Why are people constantly expected to prioritise the feelings of the oppressor rather than the oppressed? If i get upset about something and I shut my mouth and keep my distance in response because I fear the other person might get defensive and argumentative - apparently I'm being unhelpful and I should just speak up.  If I speak up I'm creating a "toxic" environment. Apparently there's a specific way to have a “healthy debate”. Healthy for who? Like who are you actually giving the upper hand here? Because in my experience, apparently the only “acceptable” way to to call someone out is by doing so within a structure that the oppressors agree with. Usually this consists of:

No naming names; No raised voices; No swearing; Providing written/video evidence proving that the thing actually happened; Providing a historical and political background on why the thing is wrong and giving them a hug to ensure them that they are not a bad person.

Because, of course comrades, didn't you know? Being called out is so much more harmful than being oppressed ---- That right there is some stinky bullshit. This mode of “healthy debate” blah blah, usually falls back on the patronising idea that if you get emotional at any point during an argument, your opinion is invalid and you are not worth talking to.

I defend the right to be angry, upset and emotional. You might think that people getting “too emotional” shuts down debate, but I think that tone policing silences the oppressed. Personally, I’m not here for eurocentric standards of “debate” and “politeness”. I’ve spent my whole life being talked over by the same people that want me to stay in line. I’m here for liberation and justice.

Marginalised people don't owe you anything, not a free education about your oppressed ways or to talk to you with politeness by your standards. Deal with the 2 minutes of awkwardness when someone has the emotional energy to tell you that you've done something harmful, it's a lot less deeper than a lifetime of structural and oppression or being someone with trauma issues who is trying to survive in triggering spaces.

Marginalised people also do not have a duty to provide you with a fully detailed explanation - so don’t feel so entitled to demand one. “But if you don’t fully explain it to me right here! and right now! how am I supposed to learn?!” I hear the cries. Check out this awesome website http://lmgtfy.com/ Some people feel comfortable enough giving explanations, but if it’s about an experience that they face everyday, it can get exhausting and triggering and not everyone wants to give out free emotional and educational labour daily, so respect that and do some self educating.

Contrary to what most people think, I don't have a perfect intersectional feminist friendship group that never gets anything wrong and throws hell fire at anyone who does. In reality we call each other out all the time, and how we react to call outs is probably a big part of why we are still close. We apologise to each other, and we thank each other for those call outs because being told about something bad that we’ve said or done gives us the chance to go and educate ourselves and help educate others too as allies.

Being able to accept a call out and rectify stuff is a sign of solidarity. If you want to help marginalised people speak out, don't silence them by obsessing with platforming your croc tears. Because at the end of the day...

“Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.” ― Assata Shakur.