Call out & call in racism

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While call outs can be important ways to speak truth to power and call racist people to account, call-out (or cancel) culture is also criticised. Call outs can be performative and a way to ‘signal virtue’ that is more interested in self-aggrandisement than in achieving real change, especially on social media.

The concept of ‘calling in’ seeks to refocus challenges to racism by talking to the person privately and aiming for change, rather than shame.


Photo by Karolina Grabowska

How do I do it?

Actively decide if you will call out or call in racism.

Calling out is useful when you need to let someone know when their behaviour is unacceptable, or when it must be interrupted to avoid causing more harm. This is also a signal to the wider community.

Calling in is useful if you want to engage someone in a deeper discussion, understanding and reflection. It involves listening as well as feedback in a two-way conversation.

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