"Calling in" is a good alternative to callout culture when you're engaging with someone close to you, or someone you feel may be open and receptive to change.
Not only is cancel culture ineffective, but it can actually deter change, deepening divisions instead of building relationships that have the potential to change minds (and eventually, the world).
A new and improved update to cancel culture and its emphasis on "calling out" might be "calling in." But what does it mean to "call someone in"—and how can we shift over from the cancel culture we're so deeply entrenched in, towards a calling-in mindset?
What Is Calling In?
The term "call-in" has been in use since as early as the 1480s, when the phrase "call in" meant "to summon someone for help" or "to enlist (someone) into service." The term changed meanings over the centuries—and now most of us know it in the context of calling into work or calling into a radio show.
In modern social justice contexts, calling in is about using problematic, offensive, or insensitive infractions as opportunities to invite people to learn, grow, and change.
YouTubers Shane Dawson, Jeffree Star, James Charles, and David Dobrik have all had major success in spite of "cancelable" offenses. How do we ensure they're held accountable?
Following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the subsequent push from progressives to overhaul America's law enforcement, celebrities and public figures have been forced to reckon with their own history of racism at varying degrees of severity.
In the past week, Mike Henry, Kristen Bell, and Jenny Slate have announced that they're stepping down from voicing their Black animated characters on The Cleveland Show, Central Park, and Big Mouth respectively. Hulu removed an episode of Golden Girls in which Blanche and Rose wore dark brown mud masks. Country bands Lady Antebellum and the Dixie Chicks changed their names to not include words rooted in racism, while some realtors are nixing the phrase "master bedroom."
How a cosmetics company representing African culture, vitality, and pride was "canceled" because of a known racist influencer.
As we're (finally) making more efforts to support Black-owned businesses, we should inevitably be wondering why there are so few of them visible to mainstream consumers.
Within the astoundingly white-washed beauty industry, Black-owned brands account for a shamefully small fraction of the industry. This is especially egregious considering that, on average, Black women spend nine times more on beauty and hair care than white women. In 2017 Rihanna's Fenty Beauty released an inclusive range of 40 shades of foundation to wild acclaim, and the industry began to reckon with its lack of diversity.
Major brands like Dior, Rimmel, and CoverGirl have attempted to release more diverse shades, but their tactic of "diverse" advertising often commodifies and objectifies non-white skin tones. As writer Niellah Arboine critiques, "There is something really dehumanising about calling [products] chocolate, caramel, mocha and coffee while all the lighter shades are porcelain or ivory."