I am noticing a lot of call out culture these days. On the surface it can look like we are holding each other accountable for hurtful painful language and action. Some of the problems I see with this is that I think its the easy way out. First, accountability is intimate it requires relationship but the call out culture happens often in absence of relationship. I see this culture growing around race, gender, and sexual orientation. It all seems quite adolescent to me.
Let me offer an example: I was working with a group that was struggling with the conveners of the event. It was so heated that I intervened and brought them back into circle together to try to remember that they weren’t on opposite sides but were on the same side focused on a common mission. This was right before a break and we were hoping that the group that was upset was going to come back. They did after taking some time to collectively work out their requests. They then asked the team I was on if we would hold space for them to have a conversation with he conveners. I said, let’s take a break and then we will come together and discuss their request. They wanted to get right to it because they had just taken the time that they needed. I said, I need some time to powwow with my partner to decide the best way to do this. We walked out into the hall and one of the people followed us and said that someone was offended because I said powwow.
When we returned to the room I apologized if what I said offended anyone and I reminded the group to remember to assume a sense of positive regard for each other. But what I really want ted to say is, "You asked me to help you, I can sit my ass down". We so want consideration without relationship. Notice the person didn’t come to me but said something to another that came to me. I think this is what you get when you have an adolescent adult culture.
Christina Pinkola Estes says that we have it backwards, "We think we are suppose to wear our toughness on the outside and our softness on the inside but it’s really just the opposite." We are to greet the world with our softness and hold our toughness on the inside knowing that we can withstand what comes our way. If we did this we wouldn’t be offended so easily. Because of this I don’t take responsibility for someone else’s offense because I have no say in it.
This call out culture seems to want accountability without relationship, freedom without responsibility and that is adolescent behavior. That’s not to say that I don’t want to be kind to others just that I’m not obligated to be.