Less than one week after the original blog on COVID Shaming was posted, I was COVID Shamed! Standing in line at the post office, someone spoke to me from behind. Once I turned around, the person asked if I still worked at a local food processing plant. When I replied no, he asked when I joined the Army. Tired of the questioning, I removed one ear loop of my mask and stated, “I think you have me mistaken for someone else.” The response was, “You sure look like… and why the heck are you wearing that mask? The pandemic is over.” I simply replied, “Maybe for some people.” I could not believe it; I had just been COVID Shamed!
Even More Unsettling
I was shocked and dismayed, to say the least, not just because of the COVID Shaming, but because of the possible issues surrounding the incident.
At Foreign Affairs Council, although we do not take a position on the topics we raise, this does not preclude us from experiencing the outcomes of the subjects we introduce. Because this is a narrative account, I must say that I felt shamed and almost belittled, but my discipline did not allow the incident to escalate.
How do you think you will handle being COVID Shamed?
Shaming takes on many faces and forms in America and likely, around the world. An attempt to name all the shaming types would be impossible, and to only mention, a few might make people feel that their shaming is being marginalized. This blog focuses on one relatively new form of shaming during human events: COVID-19 Shaming. This new form of shaming creates the question:
COVID-19 Shaming: Another Divisive Force in our Society?
The answers to this question are no doubt many and varied but require us to think intellectually and experientially on the topic.
The Conundrum of COVID-19
COVID-19 does not discriminate. Although we have lived with the COVID-19 virus since March 2020, the impacts of divisions between us may in some ways be even greater than the virus itself. I refer to these divisions as COVID-19 Shaming. COVID-19 Shaming occurs in several categories:
There may be more categories to COVID-19 Shaming than those listed here, and please feel free to add to the list by sharing your experiences. COVID-19 Shaming allows us all to share one commonality: No member of any group created the virus. Unfortunately, some will even question this statement.
If we adhere to the premise above that “no member of any group created the virus”, so no one is to blame for the outbreak, then, why does COVID-19 Shaming occur?
How do you feel about the topic of COVID-19 Shaming?
Questions we may need to ask ourselves are:
1. Have you ever been COVID-19 Shamed?
2. If yes, how did being COVID-19 Shamed make you feel?
3. What can we do to stop COVID-19 Shaming?
4. What can we do to reduce and eventually stop the division around COVID-19 Shaming?
At Foreign Affairs Council, we do not take a position on the topics we raise but provide a platform for awareness and expression to cultivate meaningful dialogue. We expect the discourse can be passionate but respectful, open, and inclusive, with the least amount of bias possible.
Author: Burl Randolph, Jr., DM