In “The public-shaming pandemic”, D. T. Max explores the rising trend of “public shaming” that aims towards patients of COVID-19 who, accidently, spread the disease to other people. Max gives several cases, such as that of Nga, an Instagram influencer and Rokita, a polish doctor and shows how the public shaming nature of citizens effected these people.
In a moral point of view, I believe that “public shaming” can play a helpful role in preventing dangerous and potentially harmful behavior towards the society. Knowing that going to parties during a global pandemic or being racist towards racial minorities could potentially receive public backlash, people would be discouraged to behave in such ways, reducing the overall risk of people and promote overall happiness.
However, there are shady sides of public shaming such as extreme violation of privacy, more than optimal amounts of hatred and being condemned for actions that people may have not committed.
The case of Rokita, who had committed suicide due to the harsh backlash he received due to spreading the disease, showcases that the public holds to much influence and power without much responsibility. To elaborate, people in the public, tend to become extremely emotional and aggressive towards people like Rokita due to the danger that COVID-19 poses on them. The motivation for public shaming, therefore, for the public is not to only solely prevent further cases of COVID for the public good, but also lash out their insecurities and emotions to someone that could be blamed for the cause of the threat.
However, because there are no public guidelines that restrict people from condemning people for actions that are factually proven, or take responsibility for falsely or overly accusing someone for doing something, seems to be unfair for the individual, who can not simply persuade or confront the collective public like he or she would with an individual in order to resolve the issue or resolve and misunderstandings.
At the end, we come to many questions such as whether public shaming needs to be restricted in order to prevent cases such as Rokita, suiciding. Another solution perhaps may come from the state, or government, that gives the right amount of backlash or punishment instead of the public people. However, it is questionable whether this limitation of public shaming is possible due to the rights to freedom of speech, and the limitations that government enacted laws and policies have in mimicking the effects that public shaming have on generating a social atmosphere that discourages wrongful doings.
**this is a post for Week 14, on “Public Shaming Pandemic”, not Week 13