Monday, August 28, 2017

Balancing activism, "free speech" & "call-out culture"

Last week, I published an essay called Refusing to Tolerate Intolerance, which makes the case that we must challenge and refuse to tolerate acts that are intended to dehumanize, intimidate, and silence minority/marginalized groups. I also explain why those who claim that we *should* tolerate said acts because of "free speech" 1) are misapplying the concept, 2) do not understand how marginalization actually works, 3) are behaving hypocritically, or 4) some combination thereof.

At the end of the piece, I mentioned that I am currently working on a follow up to that essay: “Hate Speech versus Call-Out Culture.” I have written about “call-out culture” at great length in the past, specifically in my second book Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive (shown to the right).

To the best of my knowledge, “call-out culture” is a term that originated within intra-activist discourses to describe expressions of activism that seemed misguided or unduly harsh to other activists. Back in the late zeros/aughts and early tens/teens, those of us who discussed this problem recognized that activism was crucial and that some call-outs are indeed necessary, and we were trying to balance that need with the fact that sometimes call-outs (in certain cases and contexts) can do more harm than good. Unfortunately, the phrase has since been appropriated by non-activists as a pejorative to smear any expression of activism that they dislike or disagree with.

While I have shared some of my thoughts on this topic elsewhere (e.g., this interview), until now, the only way to read about my assessment of “call-out culture,” and my proposed solutions to counter (or at least mitigate) it, was to buy a copy of my book Excluded. But recently, in the hopes of making these ideas more accessible, I have uploaded my eleven-page-long Excluded excerpt on how to reduce “call-out culture” to my Patreon site. So you can read it right now if you are one of my Patreon supporters!

If you are not one of my Patreon supporters, but you do want to read it, all you have to do is join Patreon and pledge to me at the $1 per month level (or higher). Then you can access it here. As a bonus, you'll also gain access to many other unpublished writings and behind-the-scenes updates, plus potential gifts depending upon how much you pledge (see my Patreon homepage and the sidebar to the right for details).

And if you aren't really into all that other stuff, you can always cancel your pledge next month, thereby spending a mere $1 for all of my thoughts (circa 2013) on "call-out culture."

Seems like a win-win proposition to me! And for all those who do sign on: 1) you can read it here, and 2) thank you for your support!