FRAZIER: Public shaming is a real shame

Published 4:00 am Saturday, March 26, 2022

Shaming – have you ever been a party to or experienced it?

I would hope not on either account.

Merriam-Webster defines shaming as the act or activity of subjecting someone to shame, disgrace, humiliation or disrepute, especially by public exposure or criticism.

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So, by all accounts shaming is rather shameful. And unfortunately, it looks like the act of shaming is rising to a new level now that we have social media.

Surely, some of you have viewed a few of these Facebook outbursts.

You know, where the shamer is hiding behind a screen, spewing out all kinds of judgment calls on social media in an effort to act as the judge and jury of a person acting in ways they dislike or respond to an incident they may not have the capacity to fully understand?

Or could it be they are doing this public shaming all in an effort to get attention?

There is an old newspaper saying, ‘if it bleeds it leads,’ and now that most everyone has a cellphone, they can be publisher, editor and reporter all rolled into one — thinking, I guess, they could win a Pulitzer the more they denigrate someone.

This week, I covered the city of Vicksburg’s board meeting and before it really got cranked up, the mayor had a few words to say about a Facebook “blast” directed at him.

Someone had posted trash strewn all around on the grounds at the Catfish Row Children’s Art Park on Levee Street and was calling him out for it.

I suppose this person was not aware the city of Vicksburg picks up trash at the park daily and according to Ward 2 Alderman Alex Monsour, garbage had been cleaned up just the day before the litterbugs acted.

This is unfortunate for an entire community when the acts of one reflect on the whole. Consequently, when this happens, it is the city leaders who are reprimanded.

And in this case, the mayor was being shamed because someone had littered.

To address the situation, Mayor Flaggs made no excuse for the bad behavior of another — he just asked if there was an issue about litter, call him directly on his cellphone — 601-942-0492.

I would hope in the future, folks wanting to complain about litter will call the mayor instead of making it a public issue on social media where potential visitors to our town could see.

Or better yet, be a good citizen and pick up the garbage and put it in the trash can.

There is no fault in doing something good for your community, and the outcome could certainly be more positive than shaming. It could inspire others to do the same.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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