If you have to name-call, then you have no argument;
you have admitted your lack of understanding and/or
inability to intelligently debate the issue at hand.
One of the byproducts of social media has been the legitimization of a call-out culture. One can argue that “calling out” irresponsible, cruel, hurtful, and illegal activity, in fact, can hold people responsible for their actions. By shining the spotlight, a dialogue can develop, and behavior improve. In this manner, one might call out in order to increase understanding and the moral climate.
But that is not always the case. Calling out has become a way of shaming those with whom we disagree. Yell louder. Embarrass. Demean. Name call. Vitriol. No dialogue. One person points a finger at someone and yells about lack of principle. Of course his principles are always just fine.
Increasing the volume at the expense of conversation and understanding.
We have all seen it (and, perhaps, many of us have done it): Someone reads a social media post and responds. Rather than comment on the content of the post, the person’s reply calls out a person or group—and, usually in an insulting way. And, the called-out party may or may not even be a part of the original conversation.
Example. I saw a video post that involved a heart-warming act of acceptance, understanding, and compassion. One viewer agreed about the need for such acts of generosity—but this person’s response could not stay on that positive note. The next sentence went to an insult of a national figure (not even connected to the video). What purpose did this serve? The video below offers that such callouts serve a way of gaining “prestige” or “credit” in the social medial world. Or a way to gain more credibility within our own “resistance bubbles.”
I often hear people lament the decline of civility, and then immediately engage in name-calling. Is name-calling leading to civility? Or, as I was taught as a child, if you have to curse or name-call, then you have no argument; you have admitted your lack of understanding and/or inability to intelligently debate the issue at hand.
When we call out, does it turn up the understanding or the volume? Is the call-out leading to deliberative dialogue or more collective monologues?
Video Recommendation for the Week.
Jonathan Haidt describes the rise and consequences of the call-out culture in this podcast excerpt (https://youtu.be/m5dIS8NmK1U). INTERESTING NOTE: One of the viewers of this video posted, “His voice is annoying.” What in the world does that have to do with the topic or message? Rather than address the nuances of Haidt’s position, the viewer criticizes him for something extraneous and (probably) beyond his control.
My latest book,
Community as a Safe Place to Land,
has been released! You can purchase it (print or e-book) on Amazon.
More information (including seven free podcast episodes to highlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
Make it an inspiring and grateful week and H.T.R.B. as needed.
You can still order my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). Another university recently (May 2019) adopted it for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.
Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.
My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network® (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).
You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
©2019. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®