Summary: In this video, Franchesca “Chescaleigh” Ramsey talks about getting called out and how to apologize. Chescaleigh defines “getting called out” as not simply having our feelings hurt or feeling slighted. Rather, she argues, “getting called out is when you say or do something that upholds the oppression of a marginalized group of people.” Chescaleigh offers suggestions for what to do in instances when we’ve committed this type of oppressive act and it’s been brought to our attention. She begins with a couple of basic principles. First, rather than get defensive when called out, we need to listen. This is an important moment, as it hopefully creates the opportunity for the other person to explain what we did wrong and how we can change it. Second, don’t try to explain away our “true” intent (e.g., “Oh, I didn’t mean it that way”). It’s very likely the case that we didn’t mean to offend, but our intent is not what matters; rather, it’s the impact of the behavior that counts. Using these guiding principles, Chescaleigh illustrates the difference between “good” and “bad” apologies, and explains why common apologetic statements such as “I’m sorry you were offended” and “I’m sorry if you were offended” fall woefully short. Instead, if we want to give a genuine “good” apology, we must (1) take responsibility for what we did and (2) make a commitment to change the behavior. To illustrate her point, Chescaleigh uses an example from her own experience of getting called out and needing to apologize. She concludes the video by summarizing how to apologize in the following four steps: (1) acknowledge what went wrong, (2) don’t put “conditions” on your apology by using words like “but” and “if”, (3) consider thanking the person who called you out; calling others out isn’t easy to do, and (4) change your behavior. The act of apologizing after getting called out is part of what it means to be a good ally (see here).
Submitted By: Valerie Chepp