Call Out Culture
2016 was my coming of age year. With hyper awareness of the culture within social media, I felt uncomfortable. From dragging to exclusion and division, the place where I thought I’d find unity was a warzone. This was only the beginning. The glamorous culture of calling out and dragging started to taste sour.
When it comes to checking people for being problematic, I’m your go-to girl. I’ll collect receipts of everyone like income taxes. The thrill of knowing I can bring you down even without receipts fueled my ego-at one point.
It never felt 100% good as it drained the hell out of me. People in my Twitter group chats would encourage my behavior even when I didn’t want to engage. I purposely pushed them away to avoid such toxic behavior.
I finally had enough (and I mean enough) when I saw people who upheld the “activist” title started becoming malicious a word that’s not synonymous with militant. Adrian, my only white friend, tries his best to be an ally to the Black community. Unlike many white people he actively listens to the requests of Black People and tries his best to never talk over. Nearly everybody knows this about him. It wasn’t until the spring of 2016 when “activists” in one of our group chats dragged him (or so they thought) for indulging in the common, mainstream dialect of African American Vernacular English. Personally, I had no problem with it and thought it should be a topic of deep discussion amongst the Black community.
Apparently I was asking for too much.
What followed was the epitome of call out culture-harassment. With Adrian being called anti-Black for saying words such as “fleek”, “chile”, “girl”, etc. and me getting called a coon for being unbothered, I felt like it was my duty to fight dirty. I asked for receipts and sources. I got absolutely none, so I pulled out receipts of myself constantly and consistently. My talent of dragging, roasting, and reading served me well when the Bitter Bitch Crew® came in my mentions everyday. It especially served me well when they found my number and attempted and failed to bring me down. I lost acquaintances and gained friends by the end of the season.
Summer 2016 — Fall 2016
They continued to attack me for months and each time I’d have a hot cup of mint tea prepared and a ham and cheese sandwich beside me. At the end of the day, I knew that they thrived off of harassment through social media because they couldn’t cope with being alone and insecure in real life. I ceased my carefree attitude when they started to come for more people. It wasn’t about credibility or activism at all at this point. Everyday there was a new victim in the young digital activist community. It was always “this person is a coon”, “this person is anti-Black ”, “this person is transphobic.” Because I’m a person who takes these labels seriously, I didn’t take lightly that these labels were imposed on those who it didn’t apply to. Those people minor mistakes and were eager to improve and it showed. The Bitter Bitch Crew® spoke over the voices of other activists, and danced to the tunes of Tumblr posts and the need to feel superior through pure harassment. The question that lingered in the minds of many was, “says who, other than you?”
“imagine being hoodcuiture who is an attack dog for literally the worst people on this blue app”- someone who took part in harassing more people than one hand could count.
For the Culture
Originally, I didn’t know what to call this phenomenon that plagued the young digital activist world. It wasn’t until I watched a periscope from a Black studies scholar, Melanie McCoy, where she expressed everything I felt.
Calling out itself isn’t the problem, it’s the ill-minded people. The art of calling someone is when you absolutely had it with someone willingly ignorant. It’s the equivalent of a Black mother going ballistic after she warned you more than once.
“You know better”
Calling out originally comes from pure exhaustion of seeing the same results. You want your words of anger to run swiftly into their brains and cause them to succumb to immediate change. How often does this work?
From years of experiencing arguments with white supremacist trolls, misogynist Black men, Pick-Me women, transphobes, homophobes, young nonblack POC,etc. I always ended up drained. I wasted (unpaid) time devoted to trying to win. I gained nothing but a couple “YAAAAASS”, and retweets and likes. Sometimes even more negativity flooding my mentions.
This is true for most. Others take it ten steps further.
One Step For Man. Two Leaps For Twitter Clout
What do you do to gain credibility?
A. Educate those who want to be educated
B. Refer to friends who are just as credible when tired of educating
C. Educate on your own time through threads and discourse
D. Be dismissive of non-harmful, valid observations and attack everyone on sight hoping for your friends and followers to see you as someone who’s views are always credible and concrete
Answer: If you chose D, you’re looking for clout through calling out.
Don’t get me wrong, some people don’t have the patience to “call in”. Who wants to sit down and educate someone for free-on your God given time? Wasting pure time an energy to see if the person you’re educating REALLY wants to unlearn their ways.
That’s why you have words and others who would gleefully do it for you.
Rather than saying “Google it”, refer them actual searches they could look under. Refer to the books you’ve read. Refer to the people who taught you (with their permission). Gain credibility not clout.
No matter how smart or “woke” you think you are, you will never achieve ultimate status. It’s virtually impossible. There’s not a person in the world who isn’t problematic; especially you.
Stop attempting to “drag” those who are inadvertently ignorant. Stop attempting to call out other people for differing opinions and encourage discourse. Stop speaking over others. Stop looking for acceptance through toxic behavior. Stop causing division to hold the title of “supreme” within your collection of friends and followers.
Just stop. I promise you it’s not that deep.
Find peace within yourself and unity with others who deserve it. Use the intelligence that you have to actually achieve something greater than retweets. Look back to when you was eager to learn from every credible source and tap into that person. Gather the energy you have to do better. To be better.
It’s vital to call yourself out before others. Be uncomfortable. When the Bitter Bitch Crew® and the MANY people like them met me, they finally felt uncomfortable. However, they never took that as an opportunity to learn from not only me, but others. Some people just don’t want to be great. The clout they once had is barely there.
The day someone pulls receipts against you and calls you out, is the day where the sun will shine brightest while your pedestal crumbles. Save the energy you exert from calling out for that gracious day.
“Drink some tea and save the bees”-from yours truly
Charge those trolls for your time and be open to learning something new. Make connections along the way and drop toxic people and behaviors. I promise it feels so much better to reach that level of carefreeness. Although personally I haven’t reached there, I’m going to be. I’ll be alright. One day.
Threads on Twitter