Public Shaming – Yes, its a Rant



Public shaming has been around for centuries.  The Scarlet Letter is the fictional story by Nathaniel Hawthorne of Hester Prynne who conceives a child in an affair and is forced to wear a read “A” on her chest.  In this day and age however we certainly don’t have things like this happening right?  I mean with the music we have available now, the movies and TV shows we certainly shouldn’t have any need for a Scarlet Letter A.

Nearly every culture has some form of public humiliation for those that break the rules of society. Just four years ago a mom came under-fire for using public humiliation as a way to get her kids under control. 


However on the internet a new wave of Dog shaming has taken hold.  Here you can see images such as the following:




Though done with fun in mind this just shows that we are a culture of poking fun at others.  A Mesa Principal has taken this in a whole new direction.
In an Arizona High School has traded in its letter A for a new letter.  That letter is G.  Taking public shaming to its fullest extent the principal of Westwood High School decided that two of its mighty Warriors should be taken down a peg or two.  See these fine lads had been fighting and what’s the best way to tone down the aggressive behavior of his football players?   Give them a modern Scarlet Letter.

Principal Tim Richards gave his two fighting players two options.  One take a suspension or two, hold hands. 




One of the boys involved stated that he was embarrassed because people were asking him “are you gay?”  To further this crazy idea that this is a great idea the community of Westwood posted a sign that says “Westwood neighborhood supports Principal Richard”.


Source: CBS 5 News


So let me get this straight (no pun intended) the best way to correct or shame your athletes was to have them appear feminized and/or gay in public?  Why is that exactly?  Is that because being gay is a bad thing or something to be ashamed of?

Source: Facebook


First we have to look at the actual process of saying that two boys holding hands is a punishment and then further that they should be ashamed of this behavior.   This screams of bashing the LGBT community.  Here again we are used as punishment, in my opinion this is no different than when drill instructors in the military used the word “ladies” when referring to recruits or coaches using the same verbiage, because you know… Being a “lady” is a bad thing.  It’s less than. 

Here again we are perpetuating the acceptance of ridiculing our youth only this time the entire community is coming up and saying HEY, we support that! Really, Westwood, Really?  You support that?  You support telling high school kids that it’s ok to laugh at, point fingers at and humiliate your kids by calling them Gay?

I personally am appalled at this behavior.  We are standing on the precipice of the Supreme Court possibly taking on the constitutionality of denying LGBT citizens marriage and good ‘ol Mesa decides let get in a few jabs before the show.  What’s next dancing in Black-face?  How about maybe some good ol’fashion cross burnings?  Police there can already demand “Show me your papers!”

 Completely different from the viral video of just a little while ago when a Dad makes his son cry and then says "I'm a horrible Dad" because he son just wanted to be a single lady...





I’d love to have some dialog around this.  Is anyone as upset as I am?  Do you think this is a good thing? 

Thoughts?

 Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(








7 comments

Sam Curtin said...

First of all I have studied a lot about Puritan punishments and the whole Letter A thing was the least of their humiliation punishments. But as you pointed out it has come back around to that. Stores now will make you where a sign around your neck saying "I stole from..." if you steal something. That, I don't have so much of a problem with and honestly I didn't think to much of the video of the two boys shamed into holding hands. Then I came across the video again and thought the same thing you did: Why would that be something to be embarrassed by? I think many of us have to step back and think about what in our society people should be ashamed for. Fighting - yes, stealing - yes, being referred to as gay - hell no.

Magaly Guerrero said...

I want to think that they boys are made to hold hands so that they can spend enough time together and talk about whatever issue made them fight in the same place. The idea of doing this to make them look gay because in someone's sick mind being gay is a punishment... well, that makes me want to hurl.

Amanda Troutman said...

A few things this brings up...
Guilt vs Shame: There's a concept that some cultures are guilt based and shame based. I believe, and I didn't check up on this before I posted, is that Western culture's particularly Western European, is to be shame based. That is society will force guilt on you. Easter cultures tend to be guilt based, that is not meeting society's expectations can cause a member to be auto-guilty. Why these get established I don't know. Both are effective at restricting certain behaviors from becoming normative, which depending on what it is can be a beneficial thing (Beneficial != good).

What we see here is that for a long time male to male affection or male affection in general has been victim (and I do mean victim) to shame culture. This is not true in Asia where hugging, hand holding, and physical contact is not guilty or shameworthy and they freely and publicly engage in it. For the west, homosexuality (I'm going to put a large part of the burden on Abrahamic religions) has been shame worthy and society overcorrected to prevent it.

Now, limited in their ways of showing affection, anything outside of the certified masculine handbook is considered effeminate but only because it's still included for us but excluded for them, not because it's inherently feminine.

I hope that all made sense. It's bit wordy.

petoskystone said...

I'm surprised that not one civil rights organization has called the Principal on his bigoted behavior. Plus, those 'good citizens' that defend this principals' action should be ashamed of themselves.

Hex Parker said...

I don't know if it's because I'm reading this early in the morning or what, but I didn't correlate the boys being made to hold hands to anything LGBT related at all.

My first impression was that they were given the choice to hold hands (or take a suspension) since holding hands has long been a sign of friendship and peace. I saw it more as a them being forced to be near each other and thus, work out their differences, coupled with the humiliation of the entire school knowing they did wrong and were being punished.

If the boys thought it would be uncomfortable or embarrassing (for whatever reason) to do so, they could have taken the suspension. They chose to break the rules and fight in school, so they got to choose their punishment. I think the problem lies more in the classmates who taunted them with questions of homosexuality than the hand holding. To me, that speaks more of the problem with society than the shaming; that the word Gay is used as a slur or a taunt. The fact they were being punished is evident, their sexuality (real or perceived) should play no part in it. Those boys SHOULD feel ashamed of themselves...they acted like fools. The shame shouldn't be from perception of homosexuality, but because they acted ignorantly and were fighting in school.

I didn't see the town support as being anti-LGBT, but rather as happy to see an effective punishment being meted out. As one of the offenders in the video pointed out, he learned a valuable lesson in not to fight in school (which, by his statement about not being able to take a suspension due to past fighting issues, is obviously an ongoing problem with him). From his interview, it sounds like the experience humbled him and may help him make better choices in his actions in the future.

It's also telling that the young woman in the video stated: "You don't see that anymore". Yes, you don't see people holding hands anymore unless it's adults with children, or adults in a romantic relationship. That's a sad state for our society. If this punishment was meted out to two young kids in early elementary, no one would assume homosexuality or use it as a taunt. It would naturally be perceived in a proper context.

I don't know if I've wording this correctly or not (as I stated, it's early for me), but this is how I understand it. The students made it into something it's not, and I don't think the Principal, nor the townsfolk that support the punishment, should be vilified because of it.

Renee Olson said...

I understand what you're saying and at first thoughts it appears that if they were in middle school it may have been different. However, looking at the fact that they were asked by other students if they were "gay" is what makes this a bit more than just a hold hands and get along punishment. Also the reporters comment that the "warriors" were "brought down a peg" by being made to hold hands. My concerns are that they were were "punished" by being in a public holding hands. In a day and age where kids are just getting to a point where they can be open in public, by having same sex couples allowed to attend prom, I think that associating "shame" with "same sex holding hands" is adding to the stigma that LGBT teens already face on a daily basis. Thanks for your comments :)

Anonymous said...

What a strange punishment. Whether they were intending it to be a public "gay" humiliation (and if so yuck!)or not, why not give them a punishment that actually did some good, something a bit more constructive. I'd have preferred to see them cleaning graffiti off the school building.
And I do agree with your sentiment, anything that debases the integrity of a normal homosexual inclination is offensive and discriminatory.

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