Sociology Index

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Call-out Culture And Cancel Culture

Call-out is to verbally hold someone accountable for their words or actions. Other usage: call you out, call them out, call him out, and call her out have become the most cliched terms. Call-out culture has been in use since 2014 as part of the #MeToo movement. Cancel culture is a variant of the term call-out culture and constitutes a form of boycotting or shunning involving an individual who is deemed to have acted or spoken in a questionable or controversial manner. Cancel culture creates a chilling effect. Comic books, television, rock music, rap music, disco, video games, and political correctness are among the subjects that have generated moral panic in the past. Culture’s current preoccupation is with the supposed scourges of critical race theory and cancel culture.

"It's time that Pakistan should be called out" - Lt Gen (R) DS Hooda - News18, CNN News 18. Now Monica Lewinsky has something to say about Cancel Culture.

The phrase cancel culture gained popularity since late 2019, most often as a recognition that society will exact accountability for offensive conduct. More recently, the phrase has become a shorthand employed by conservatives in the United States to refer to what are perceived to be disproportionate reactions to politically incorrect speech. "cancel", in this context, means "to stop giving support to a perticular person."

Dictionary.com, in its pop-culture dictionary, defines cancel culture as "withdrawing support for public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive." Academics have proposed alternatives and improvements to cancel culture.

According to Lisa Nakamura, University of Michigan professor of media studies, canceling someone is a form of "cultural boycott" and cancel culture is the "ultimate expression of agency" which is "born of a desire for control because people have limited power over what is presented to them on social media" and a need for "accountability which is not centralized."

Critical multiculturalism professor Anita Bright proposed "calling in" rather than "calling out" in order to bring forward the former's idea of accountability but in a more "humane, humble, and bridge-building" light. Clinical counsellor Anna Richards, who specializes in conflict mediation, says that "learning to analyze our own motivations when offering criticism" helps call-out culture work productively.

Former US President Barack Obama warned against social media call-out culture, saying that "People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids and, you know, share certain things with you." Former US President Donald Trump also criticized cancel culture in a speech in July 2020, comparing it to totalitarianism and saying that it is a political weapon used to punish and shame dissenters by driving them from their jobs and demanding submission.
President Donald Trump is now campaigning as a warrior against what he says is a left-wing "cancel culture" that seeks to get people punished or banished for supposedly objectionable words or acts.

"One of their political weapons is 'cancel culture' is driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism, and it is completely alien to our culture and our values, and it has absolutely no place in the United States of America," Trump said in a July 3 speech at Mount Rushmore.