Both posters were made using Canva.
This Workshop Wednesday, we’re going to explore the tricky subject of call-outs and call-ins, a.k.a. giving feedback, using the two posters above. Here’s what we’re going to cover:
Where these posters came from
Benefits of using these posters
How to explain these posters
Problems and controversies with these posters (e.g. abusive dynamics, tone policing and respectability politics, etc.)
Image descriptions of the posters for screen readers and folks with certain neurodivergence
The original photos of the hand-drawn version of these posters
Source of the Posters
Ever since the amazing RJ Jones created a graphic of the CLA(I)M poster, I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries and a lot of praise for “inventing” it, as well as questions about whether folks had permission to use it. This is a complicated subject. The “How To Give Feedback” poster I totally did make up, so absolutely credit me on that one. But the CLA(I)M acronym I learned from Melanie Jubinville-Stafford at Project Acorn, probably circa 2012. We can trace one of the origins to St. Stephen’s Community House in Tkaronto/Toronto, but it’s considered community knowledge. Each facilitator who uses the acronym adapts their own unique knowledges to it. For example, I made up each paragraph on the poster that explained each letter of the acronym. Lastly, instead of paying me for the use of these graphics/posters, I would prefer folks become patrons to the causes I’m supporting, or hire me or other anti-oppression facilitators for your communities.
If you need an easy couple of tools on giving and receiving feedback in an anti-oppressive educational environment for a group of sighted folks that learn best visually, these posters are great to use.
These posters are best used together, paired up, in the context of a workshop on any kind of anti-oppressive topic with a facilitator who can explain and troubleshoot situations regarding the posters, as well as frame these concepts in different ways for a variety of learners and folks with varying abilities.
I prefer to use these posters at the beginning of a workshop, when we’re doing “Community Agreements”. Standard Community Agreements usually range from “make space for everyone and yourself”, “respect people’s pronouns”, “don’t assume gender/race/disability/etc”, to “trigger warnings” and “check on people if they leave the space abruptly”. After those agreements, I ask the group how they’d like to give each other feedback. If folks don’t have ideas, or after they share their ideas, I then introduce these posters and ask their opinions about them.
These posters don’t make enough sense out of context. I know the CLA(I)M one got circulated without comment for awhile, and I think that’s my fault for letting it happen as I didn’t quite understand how virally it would spread around the Internet. I thought the poster would just circulate with folks that have taken my anti-oppression workshops. I believe that without an explanation about what calling in and calling out is, the CLA(I)M poster can be very dangerous. Folks can attempt to enforce these suggestions as rules on people in situations where they’re abusing someone or where they’re actually in a place of privilege trying to get an oppressed person to “listen”. Without the context of a workshop where people feel it’s okay to challenge the guidelines and create their own, folks can believe that CLA(I)M is “the one true way”, and that’s not it at all. Anti-oppression should be a collaborative, collective approach. I, or any of the work I do, should not have a “one true way” because people and society are always evolving and growing together, introducing new contexts and nuances.
Even when CLA(I)M is paired up with the Feedback poster to explain what calling out and calling in is, it’s still just a reductionist, simplified explanation of a constantly evolving and nuanced subject. Also, this is just one opinion/suggestion on what calling out and calling in is. A common and fair criticism from various communities is that call-outs should not just be reserved for emergencies, and that some people result to “call-out culture” because they’re powerless in other avenues of their life and this is the only way they can stand up to power. It’s an ongoing discussion/debate as to whether criticizing “call-out culture” is tone policing and respectability politics, or whether letting “call-out culture” go unchecked becomes abusive and disposability politics. In a workshop, I’d be happy to support and continue these discussions with a group that’s learning together and has already made agreements to care for each other in that context, but without that social and physical container, these posters can cause damage, confusion, or further division among activists and their communities.
Last but not least, these posters are not accessible to blind folks and folks with specific neurodivergence where posters of this kind are confusing or difficult to understand. Though I have included image descriptions below, there are probably easier ways to convey these concepts to blind folks than having these posters described to them.
The first poster is in pastel shades of yellow, pink, brown, blue, green, and purple. The title is written as follows: “What to do when you’re being called out or called in…” Vertically is the word CLAIM in all caps, but the letter “I” is in brackets to show that it is optional, so it could be read as CLAM or CLAIM. Each letter has a paragraph. The paragraph for the letter C is as follows: “CENTRE & GROUND. You’re not being attacked. You’re a good person. This is about your behaviour and stopping harm to others.” The paragraph for the letter L is as follows: “LISTEN. Don’t interrupt or think of ways to defend yourself first. Instead, focus on learning what was harmful and being empathetic.” The paragraph for the letter A is as follows: “ACKNOWLEDGE/APOLOGIZE. Instead of explaining why you did it, first acknowledge what happened. If needed or requested, apologize for the harm done.” The paragraph for the letter I is as follows: “(INQUIRE. If they consent, and have the time and resources, ask what you could have done instead and how to make amends.)” The paragraph for the letter M is as follows: “MOVING FORWARD. The best apology is changed behaviour. If they gave you reasonable amends, do them. Don’t do the harm again. Use this experience to help others learn too.” At the bottom of the poster is a green square with white text, which is as follows: “This acronym is considered community knowledge, and was taught to me by Melanie Jubinville-Stafford. One of its origins can be traced to St. Stephen’s Community House in Toronto. patreon.com/lukayo or Lukayo.com.”
The second poster has a green-blue background. At the top is the word “FEEDBACK”, followed by the sentence “How to call in or call out”. There are stylized pictures of a white cell phone, a beige pencil, a beige megaphone, and a white speech bubble. Inside the cell phone is a green exclamation mark. Inside the speech bubble is a black exclamation mark. Below the title there are white rectangles with text that have questions, and YES in beige or NO in white that have black arrows leading to other white rectangles depending on how you choose the answer each question. The first white rectangle on the far left is the one with a black rectangle inside it. The black rectangle has the word START. The while rectangle has text underneath the black START rectangle, which is as follows: “Will you be safe if you speak out? Has someone asked you to be an ally?” If you choose NO, an arrow leads you to a white rectangle that has the following: “Make a plan to get support and care. Ask an ally to respond.” If you choose YES, a black arrow leads you to a white rectangle that has the following: “Will this oppressive situation seriously harm people in the area?” If you choose NO to this question, a black arrow leads you to a white rectangle that has the following: “Can you talk to them in private?” If you choose YES to “Will this seriously harm people in the area?”, a black arrow leads you to a white rectangle that has the following: “Do a public call-out: “Please stop. This is harmful.” Is there time and interest to give longer feedback?” If you choose NO to “Can you talk to them in private?”, a black arrow leads you to a white rectangle that has the following: “Are you comfortable publicly shutting this down?” If you choose YES to “Can you talk to them in private?”, a black arrow leads you to a white rectangle that has the following: “Longer feedback or call-in: Check consent and timing. State what happened. Suggest what they can do instead. Optional: explain why it was harmful.” If you choose NO to “Is there time and interest to give longer feedback?”, a black arrow leads you to a white rectangle that has the following: “Can you talk to them in private?”, which leads to the options previously written. If you choose YES to “Is there time and interest to give longer feedback,” a black arrow leads to the white rectangle that has the longer feedback text already covered. If you choose NO to “Are you comfortable publicly shutting this down?”, a black arrow leads you to a white rectangle that has the following: “Make a plan to get support and care. Ask an ally to respond.” If you choose YES, the black arrow leads to the white rectangle that has the public call-out text, and the options that were already given. Underneath the white rectangles are the words “www.patreon.com/lukayo” and “www.Lukayo.com” in beige.
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