What is rarely pointed out is that a person can be at once oppressed and an abuser.
Human beings are complex creatures, not these receptacles of “good” OR “evil”. At once good in some aspects and gross in others. Simultaneously oppressed and oppressors. However, in this performative culture of blogging all of this subtlety is often obscured. You are either “one of the good guys” or “you are the worst person ever”. You play the role of “hero” or you play “the villain”. However, I must question this dichotomy because call outs, and the modus operandi behind them, the pile-on, can potentially kill people. The most virulent call outs can exacerbate existing PTSD. They can drive a person to severe episodes of anxiety and/ or depression, they can lead someone to feel isolated and suicidal. It is a toxic and destructive phenomenon, wherein blog post after blog post are made, each escalating in virulence. And Social Media amplifies the episode, with Tweets and Facebook status and comments left on the person’s blog and eventually emails. Private emails (more often than not anonymous) with further abuse and further diminishing and denigrating language, with invitations to kill yourself, to stop “polluting the world” with your presence If the blogger in question is queer, they will be purposefully misgendered; if they are non White, they will be de-racialized to erase their context and background; if they speak English as a second language (which might sometimes explain the reason why they used some icky words to begin with), that tidbit will be downplayed or just plain ignored; if they are working class or poor, their class struggles deliberately obscured or just completely obliterated (even in cases when the very same class and educational background could explain the originally “problematic” statement that triggered the call out to begin with). And again, I must insist on the insidious nature of this culture: who would dare say a thing about it when it is supposedly done against oppression? So the recipient of a call out is isolated (remember what I mentioned about being forced to take sides?), told by a crowd of prosumers who are fascinated by this “drama” that they are worthless, not even deserving of the air they breath.
And we, in the blogging community, cheer and applaud this behavior. Moreover, we actively take part in it. And if not, we remain silent because well, AGAIN, who would speak up against “fighting oppression”?