Shame. Judge. Bully.

Shame. Judge. Bully. Three words that we've seemingly redefined, but only on one side of the equation. The words still carry their negative weight when they're used to label someone or their actions. However, the bar at which those labels get slapped on is becoming very, very low.

How do we fix it?

  1. Stop. If you're accusing someone using these terms, stop. (You don't have to stay stopped - keep reading.)
  2. Investigate. I don't want to hear that this person is a bully (a subjective, opinionated statement); I want to hear what they did that is so reprehensible. See, I want to save my moral outrage for truly outrageous things. If I got upset over every accusation, my outrage machine would have been tapped out long ago.
  3. Do not respond to uncomfortable questions with one of these accusations. Just because someone makes you feel uncomfortable with what they said does not mean that they've done something shameful. Are you truly offended at the question? Or are you offended that their question hit the nail on the head?

If, after 2 and 3, you still believe that their actions rise to those levels, then by all means, apply them. Just realize that by applying those labels, you're shaming - something you say people shouldn't do. If you get a bunch of people to do it, and harass the person over it, you're bullying - something you say people shouldn't do. And, by looking at actions and deeming them shameful, you have also made a judgment. (gasp!)

In summary:

  • Pointing out facts is not shaming.
  • Moral disagreement is not judging.
  • Coercing behavior is not necessarily bullying.
  • When you point a finger at someone, you will often find 3 pointing back at yourself.


(Stay tuned, where in our next segment we discuss "Even if they're a horrible person, does what they're saying have a valid point?".)

Categorized   Social Issues