Getting To Know You-Public Shaming


Have you ever posted a comment, that you would not have said standing in front of the person?

The short answer is no. I believe the words I type are as important as the words I speak. If I want to be an example of ethics and morals to my son, then I need to behave responsibly in the medium where his generation lives.

What do you think needs to be done to change the wave of hate that is being openly displayed on social media these days?

I think one of the easiest ways to stem the tide would be to not allow anonymous accounts. The fact is, we tend to treat people more kindly when we can be held accountable for our actions. If employers, friends and family could search their responses, would people be as quick to openly display their hatred?

I am providing you with an opportunity to give a message to someone who is currently a target of public shaming – What is your message?

Don’t engage. State your feelings once publicly if you feel the need, then walk away. Interacting with hatred will only perpetuate the drama, which is what they are looking for. Live your life. Love your people. You can’t control the abyss.


Have you ever experienced or been the target of public shaming/defamation of character on social media?  What has been your reaction? 

Shaming in any circumstance isolates and diminishes one’s life .

Having been homeless , and making my life public about Poverty has brought into my life a silent shaming . No one comes to me personally, but I see it written in comments in response to articles I am in. It identifies me and others as being on the outskirts of society because of our circumstances.

I still see it in the faces of people who have misconceptions about Poverty. Pity and exclusion are forms of shaming.

The comments from people in general are positive but those few that had hurtful opinions  did damage to not only my dignity but to the dignity of every person finding themselves in Poverty, or being Homeless.

I had mentioned that getting a food voucher with my name on it to use in the grocery store that I used, was humiliating and very undignified. I could not use it, despite needing it. It brings an element of shame that my circumstance is one that is being made judgement on. It identified me by my circumstance, not by who I am.

I usually do not respond when comments are so negative, but felt a response on behalf of everyone living in Poverty was necessary to give a response not in anger but to provide a perspective that would perhaps not change those people that made the remarks , but to give power back to myself and others. Poverty is a circumstance. It does not define us .

Should someone targeted negatively on social media respond?  How?

Yes, absolutely. I have always felt that we need to speak out against injustice against any person .

People who target others can be violent. It has to be done with caution and support. If possible , privately , or in my case a response written in the paper. Not in a battle of who is right or wrong, but to give another perspective . Never respond in anger.

People  have misconceptions that they have embedded in them . Once you are able to change their perspective , there is understanding. We must stand up for every individual , it cannot only be about us. If someone is targeted it affects us all eventually. We are connected as a society .

Tolerance  for every person , it just simply means …This is who I am…just let me be.

I advocate for every person , it does not end with the issues that only affect me.

I am providing you with an opportunity to give a message to someone who is currently a target of public shaming – What is your message?

To first get support from someone you trust. Never engage with the person/s , If in a situation where it escalates , or can be  violent …report to authorities. Never engage in public verbal combat . It validates the person doing the shaming.


Have you ever posted a comment, that you would not have said standing in front of the person?

Yes and No.  Yes, because I write more eloquently than I speak. So I will often reply to someone’s Facebook post in a way that I simply would not have the ability to in person. That being stated, I do not post comments that I do not intend to fully stand behind when in person.

A few years ago, I am sure I was a lot quicker to post a comment than to speak. However, today I am constantly aware that what I type is forever. Most of my social media accounts are attached to my real name, and I know I can be held accountable for my public opinion. I am happy to put my thoughts and words behind my real name online, because I write without the intent to slander, perpetuate hate, or post opinion before fact.

What do you think needs to be done to change the wave of hate that is being openly displayed on social media these days?

I think that we as individuals need to understand that being hateful is not contributing to a more positive world. I think we, as individuals, need to make a choice to think on and rethink on everything we post online. I think that education needs to begin at home and in school. I think that authorities need to take what is posted online as just as seriously as what is said in person.

People need to understand that their actions have consequences, and hiding behind a screen is not an excuse for inhumane treatment of their peers. We, in our cushy society, have been conditioned to complain first and offer help second (or not at all). At some point, we need to understand how important it is to be educated about issues before proposing a solution. Hate should never be in the equation.

In your opinion, do today’s social views encourage public shaming/defamation of character on social media, and outside the cyber world as well?

It is very evident that public shaming is becoming an epidemic, and, due to its acceptance as a “just” form of “punishment” by a majority of people, I do believe that today’s social views are encouraging it.

But we should call “public shaming” what it really is: “mob justice.” And it’s dangerous.

More often than not, when people – like you and me – jump on one bandwagon or another to participate in public shaming, we do not look to the source for proof that what we are attacking is even real. It is the thrill of being able to publicly berate someone for their ignorance, poor judgment, illegal act, or even spelling mistake. It is to be able to say: We are better than him/her/them.

We can take a recent example of the dentist, Walter Palmer, who was publicly shamed after he “murdered” Cecil the Lion.  He has been a target of threats and protests since the discovery was made of his kill and had to close his dentistry and go into hiding.

“Good!” some of you may be thinking, but is this form of online-vigilante-justice appropriate? However much I dislike hunters for killing game for sport and trophy, I do not think that a human life becomes less valuable because the human has made mistakes or even committed a crime. It needs to be dealt with in an appropriate way. Asking for the support of authorities, and speaking with clear rationale and reason. Pointing the finger to only visible problems allows the invisible problems and underlying cause to grow and flourish. Now we have all attention pointed to one individual, while hundreds of people go out and commit the same crime without a target on their backs.

Also, this form of online harassment gets carried to those that have done nothing illegal or “wrong,” but are treated in much the same way by those intending to carry out their own vigilante agenda.   Laci Green was targeted in much the same way by people who opposed her views, and she had to go so far as to call the police and stay with some friends while being directly threatened that her apartment was being watched and she was in danger.

One final example (among millions), is parents using the internet as a place to publicly shame their children. Can you imagine growing up, making normal mistakes that kids do – as that is how we learn – only to be publicly shamed by our parents to potentially millions of people? That exposure of vulnerable people (children, etc) should be especially not tolerated by our society, yet often it is.

We use examples of public shaming, like Palmer’s slaying of Cecil, to say, “We’re doing right by singling out this individual for wrong!” But we’re not doing right.  It is quite clearly mob justice, and the people participating are often ill-informed and ignorant of not only the “real” reasons for the start of the harassment, but also how to actually make an impactful and powerful change in the world. Public shaming is an excuse to focus attention about small problems or people rather than big solutions.

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