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Calling in and calling out? A discussion

A broad approach that should anchor any campaign to get members on board with equity issues is to focus on actions of “calling in” rather than “calling out”. Activist organizations such as unions regularly “call out” oppressive and illegitimate actions; through public campaigns and formal actions such as grievances. This is a necessary tool to challenge oppression.  

Within an organization or community of allies, however, it may be more productive to recognize that not all members have the same knowledge, understanding or experience of key issues. Approach mistakes or lack of commitment with efforts to explain, educate and include, to “call in” rather than “call out”. As unions, “calling in” is rooted deep in collective history of education for unified activism. It is, moreover, central to achieving fundamental change in the equity landscape because to challenge inequalities, those in dominant social groups need to recognize how those privileges operate in our workplaces and to commit to changing their behaviours. Calling in can help meet our members where they are and help to guide them towards building their communities of equity practice. 

Resources 

Diversity Arts Australia and the British Council. Interrupting bias: Calling In vs. Calling Out, 2018: https://creativeequitytoolkit.org/topic/anti-racism/call-out-call-in-racism/ 

Ross, Loretta J. How to call people in (instead of calling them out): https://lorettajross.com/