Calling Out Callout Culture

May 14, 2019

Have you been wrongly labeled in our divisive times? How did it feel?

Author Irshad Manji says it’s time to call out “callout culture.”

And she takes a surprising approach to the structure of “Don’t Label Me,” where she lays out her rationale for that claim.

The New York Times wrote that it “unfolds as a conversation between the author and her dog, Lily, about divisive social issues like identity, diversity and religious politics.”

She expanded on what she was thinking in a conversation with Newsweek.

Different situations call for different responses. But shaming should never be the first response because it only leads to blowback. Shaming degrades the shamed. You rarely change minds that way; more often, you instill a level of resentment that incites retaliation.

If the social gains we’ve made are to endure, they need buy-in from those who disagree with us. This means seeking common ground, even as we stand our ground. That’s where listening to opposing points of views comes in—and asking sincere questions. Why does my opponent believe what she believes? What experiences brought her there? By listening, you’re working with a basic law of human psychology: that if you want to be heard, you first have to hear.

What are better ways to express difference? And how can we be respectful and still disagree?

We talk to Manji about all that and more.

Produced by Bianca Martin.


Irshad Manji, Author, “Don’t Label Me: An Incredible Conversation for Divided Times;” founder, Moral Courage Project; @IrshadManji

For more, visit

© 2019 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio.

Copyright 2019 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.