While criticism, whether warranted or not has been a part of humanity since the beginning of time, intimidation and intentionally humiliating someone is something different and far more destructive. It is so appalling how the internet has become a place where a disdainful and alarming form of bullying has become a daily norm. Shaming, according to the Cambridge Dictionary is the act of publicly criticizing and drawing attention to someone, especially on the internet. Targets are publicly humiliated using technology like social media (i.e. body shaming, baby shaming, pet shaming, etc).
Words, whether verbally expressed or written can wage a war, assassinate someone’s character, promote education, bring awareness to a cause, or create peace. I am a supporter of the First Amendment, but I am not a proponent of cruelty, abuse and dehumanization, whether exercised publically or not. Shaming or deliberately spreading lies about a person, people or an organization can lead to hate messages and death threats being used to intimidate that person or their family.
When the offenders have deliberately ‘Shamed’ someone publically, especially on a social platform, it spreads like a wild fire. If they are called on the carpet, some retract their statements and apologize (although many think these apologies aren’t genuine or sincere), and others don’t. I truly believe that these bully-headed individuals have to have some inkling of a heart under those thick layers of insults. If the tables were turned, how would they feel?
I know I’ve previously written about this subject before, but it still seems to become more problematic and systemic than ever. Grant it, we all have opinions, some extreme and some aptly mild. But even though we have the freedom of speech, let’s practice ‘thinking’ before we speak whether verbally, digitally or written via a publication. Now mind you, we aren’t talking about reporting or responding to relevant, genuine news, we are talking about twisting, turning and torturing people just because you can. Here’s my thought for the day: Don’t dish out dirt if you can’t take getting slung with mud!