I participated in a live interview this morning with the Huffington Post Live, with focus of the conversation being on the relevance and social acceptability of public apologies. From my standpoint, whether you are looking at the Paula Deen usage of racist slurs, Lance Armstrong’s dishonesty with doping, Rob Ford’s defiance about his drug use to the recent tweet and follow up apology by Justine Sacco, the entire process of public apologies has become bastardized.
Once a public figure makes a hurtful and insensitive comment, with a prompt follow up apology, it is a literal assault to the sensibilities of the public. Most people realize that the apology is not sincere and is only being offered under duress to save face. More importantly the apology distracts from more important issues that the public should be looking at. Such as workplace bullying, whether kids are influenced by doping in sports and corruption in politics to name a few. Mainstream media outlets habitually distract from these topics through a process of shaming and blaming the public figure who dared uttered such comments.
On a personal level, if someone rejects me or thinks ill of me because of my skin color or heritage, that’s truly their problem, not mine. My participation in ridiculing or shaming any offender of hurtful comments solves nothing, and for those in my position who thinks it helps them feel better, I would say that they have fallen for the “jedi mind trick”, in short we have bigger fish to fry.
On a positive note, I came across a story about how group turned an insensitive tweet that went viral into a positive outcome. How? By channeling the outrage to focusing and challenging people to help a greater cause.
Here is a copy of the video of the interview, after watching please share.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.