Why Didn’t They Talk To You Privately? On “Call Out Culture” and Power Differentials

The Bias

So you’ve been called out. You are baffled. Shocked. Why would someone shame you in public like that? It isn’t fair! If they’d talked to you privately, this wouldn’t have happened! How dare they?

Among people who’ve been criticized in public, this is a common refrain. Maybe they acknowledge that they caused harm or maybe they don’t, but the real issue they’re focused on is that they’ve been treated unfairly. The internet dropped on their head without any warning.

They want to know why no one took them aside to explain what they’ve done wrong and to give them a chance to fix it. Don’t they deserve the benefit of the doubt?

Many of the people I’ve seen doing this are being disingenuous and deserve every ounce of scorn they get for pretending they didn’t know better. But I’d like to address the folks who honestly do not understand why…

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