“I am challenging the call-out culture,” Professor Ross said from her home in Atlanta, where she was lecturing on Zoom to students on a recent evening, in a blue muumuu from Ghana. “I think you can understand how calling out is toxic. It really does alienate people, and makes them fearful of speaking up.”…

“What I’m really impatient with is calling people out for something they said when they were a teenager when they’re now 55. I mean, we all at some point did some unbelievably stupid stuff as teenagers, right?”

Professor Ross thinks call-out culture has taken conversations that could have once been learning opportunities and turned them into mud wrestling on message boards, YouTube comments, Twitter and at colleges like Smith, where proving one’s commitment to social justice has become something of a varsity sport.

“I think this is also related to something I just discovered called doom scrolling,” Professor Ross told the students. “I think we actually sabotage our own happiness with this unrestrained anger. And I have to honestly ask: Why are you making choices to make the world crueler than it needs to be and calling that being ‘woke’?”