I fully recognize the necessity of maintaining systems of accountability and nudges towards growth, self-reflection, and apology, but I wonder how much we are able to grow when those nudges are so often sheathed in insult, destruction, and shame; when they seem more invested in silencing and denouncing than facilitating a conversation that will enable the critical reflection of the author, the reader, and the community. Because of the internet’s ability to quickly make an activist blogger a queerlebrity and how we associate fame with wealth/power/political influence, our community has taken to conflating highly visible writers with more traditionally hegemonic forces of authority and attacking them viciously when they error. We forget that they, too, are mere and fallible, that the work they do is well intentioned and in service to the community. I know that most call-outs are rooted in self-protection and a desire for awareness and healing in activist communities, but it feels like we are also becoming increasingly invested in the “power and fame” we gain from intellectually denouncing another writer under the guise of social justice accountability than actually hearing and healing each other.
The more I read Facebook comments and tumblr responses to recent articles and blogs, the more I wonder why it is so easy to celebrate our brilliant writers who have transitioned/achieved critical acclaim, yet rip apart the soul and intention of those who walk and breathe and struggle amongst the rest of us. If these people are the warrior heroes who defend us against the cultural imperialism of hegemonic dis-ease, who inspire us to live through the pain and trauma of our yesterday, then isn’t it our responsibility to protect and nurture them, as well?