There is a growing trend in popular culture and social media to encourage people to speak out about the inappropriate behavior of others, and to name names.
I understand the concept of “silence equals consent,” and I understand that calling out bullies and harassers keeps people safer. Bullies and harassers only have power if we give them an environment in which to function.
I also know the courage to it takes to break silence and share our stories of abuse.
Sometimes our voices work to shine needed light into dark places.
Sometimes it is delightfully entertaining to call out hypocrisy, ego, stupidity and greed when we see it in the pompous, and the self-righteous.
I think, however, there comes a time that “calling people out” becomes another form of bullying.
When we decide to tell the entire world about someone’s transgressions, or when we issue an edict that none of our social media friends may also be friends with one who has offended us, I think we need to be clear about our motivation.
Calling people out is a way of protecting others from known dangers. Calling people out keeps bullies from lurking in the shadows and hurting others.
Sometimes, though, we name names because we are hurt, or offended. We want to strike back at someone whom we perceive has harmed us.
I think that is the moral line in the sand. Calling people out as a way of preventing further abuse helps our communities. Calling people out as a way of processing anger or hurt, or as a way of seeking revenge, can be a very low way of handling a problem.
Sometimes it takes courage to break silence. Sometimes it takes even more courage to keep it.