I Get Precise

by pgbh

A close friend shared this advice on Facebook. I consider myself a fairly liberal person, who broadly supports various types of equality. But I still had a strongly negative reaction to seeing something like this approved of.

However, it wasn’t immediately obvious to me why I disliked the author’s message. I thought it might be a useful exercise to explicitly state that message, so I could decide exactly how I feel about it. Here are the main points, as I see them:

  • The person engaging in a “call-out” is always right. Such a person is never too sensitive or “looking to be offended”. If you disagree, you are “dictating” how they should feel.
  • It is not acceptable to argue with a call-out. Giving reasons why you believe you didn’t deserve a call-out amounts to “discrediting” the other person’s feelings.
  • The purpose of a call-out is not to attack or hurt you as a person. Others will only call you out in order to “teach you something”, not to feed their egos or boost their social status.
  • Whether you meant to hurt or offend others is not important when you have been called out. What matters is others’ beliefs and perceptions, not yours.
  • If you have “privilege”, you are oppressing other people. Since we should work to reduce oppression, that means that privileges (wealth, beauty, certain skin colors, etc.,) should be avoided.
  • Someone who has called you out believes that you would like to change your behavior, if you were only aware of the problems with it. They will not call out people who are fundamentally opposed to their points of view.
  • Your mind is full of many “oppressive thoughts” which you cannot personally identify. Only someone like the author can point out these flaws by calling you out on them. However, you cannot point out perceived flaws in their thinking, as detailed above.

It is probably obvious from how I phrased the above that I find many of these ideas wrong, actively harmful, or both; still I think I’ve repeated them pretty accurately, though. Later I may explain why exactly I think this way.