‘to name and shame’: meaning and early occurrences

The phrase to name and shame means:
– to publicly disclose perceived wrongdoing or failure on the part of a person or institution;
– to expose private behaviour to public censure.

And the phrase naming and shaming denotes:
– the public disclosure of perceived wrongdoing or failure on the part of a person or institution;
– the exposure of private behaviour to public censure.

Earlier longer phrases including the verb blame occur, for example, in articles about Adele Faber (born 1928) and Elaine Mazlish (1925-2017) from:

1-: the Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan, USA) of Wednesday 16th October 1974:

The two women have written a book, “Liberated Parents/Liberated Children,” (Grosset & Dunlap, $7.95), describing their experiences in Ginott’s 1 parent workshops. The book tells how they and other parents tried—and sometimes succeeded, sometimes failed—to put Ginott’s principles into practice.
[…] For the past year, Mrs. Faber and Mrs. Mazlish have been conducting workshops for parents, teachers, child care workers and psychologists based on Ginott’s work.
Like good disciples, they quote his words freely. There’s another way to deal with children, they say, than “naming, blaming and shaming.” Parents should use words that describe, not insult.

1 Haim G. Ginott (Haim G. Ginzburg – 1922-1973) was an Israeli clinical psychologist, child therapist, parent educator and author.

2-: the column Assignment America, by Phyllis Battelle, published in several newspapers on Wednesday 6th November 1974—for example in the Logan Daily News (Logan, Ohio, USA):

Adele learned, quickly, that when she was angry she could show her anger—but without rancor. “The skill is called ‘anger without insult.’ You walk into a child’s room and it’s filthy. Instead of saying ‘You’re living in a pigsty’ or ‘You’re a slob, clean up!’, you give specifics that infuriate you: ‘When I see a room with chewing gum on the desk and toys and clothes all over the floor, I become raving mad!’ Surprisingly, the kids are so struck with your attitude—minus the personal references and the orders to clean up—that they proceed to clean up without being nagged. There’s not been the old naming, shaming or blaming—only the fury. And boy, do you feel better. Haim used to say that if you hold in your anger, it’s like stepping on the gas pedal and brake at the same time. Ruins the car, ruins you.”

The phrase naming, shaming occurs as the title of an editorial published in The Press and Sun-Bulletin (Binghamton, New York, USA) of Saturday 17th December 1977:

Naming, shaming

Every once in a while someone will raise an issue whose status as an issue can be questioned. These days it is apt to be a matter of sensitivity in connection with human rights, more particularly interracial relations. One such arose this week, when the corporate owners of Sambo’s Restaurants decided to take no immediate action on an appeal to change the eateries’ name to one “without such racial overtones.”
The appeal was made a few months ago by the SUNY Binghamton Students Association. The students expressed concern that “Sambo” recalled a rather condescending children’s story, “Little Black Sambo.” According to company officials, the restaurant name came from compounding the names of two of the chain’s founders, Samuel D. Battistone and F. Newell Bohnett.

The earliest use of the phrase to name and shame that I have found occurs as the title given to a letter in Ann Landers’s 2 advice column, published in The Calgary Herald (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) of Saturday 14th January 1978:

Named and shamed

Dear Ann Landers: Why in the name of heaven do you have to use names in your column? You will never know the embarrassment you have caused us. A few weeks ago you printed a letter from a woman whose name was Jeanette. Her husband’s name was Howard. It seems they used to beat up on each other a lot—both a couple of boozers.
The kids had to cook for themselves because the parents were passed out by dinner time. Of course the house was like a pigsty and the creditors were hounding them daily.
It so happens my name is Jeanettte [sic] and my husband’s name is Howard. We received dozens of phone calls from friends laughing their heads off. Then the mail started to come in from all over the country. Unfortunately, the couple who were lushing it up had four kids—same as we have.
The least you could have done was changed the names. Please watch it in the future. Thank you.
                                                                                                                                            From Scarsdale
Dear Scars: It’s a no-win situation. Never would I use the real names of people who write about such a sordid situation. So—when I changed names to protect them, I hit you and Howard. I also changed the number of kids and hit you again. My apologies to all the Howard and Jeanette combinations. But it’s bound to happen again. No name combination is safe.

2 Ann Landers was the pseudonym, from 1955 to 2002, of Esther Pauline Lederer (née Friedman – 1918-2002).

The phrase to name and shame then occurs in a letter published in the Daily Mirror (London, England) of Tuesday 9th May 1978:

The reader who suggested that naming juvenile thugs in court reports would help cut such crimes, is way off course.
The parents of these young villains should be named and shamed into accepting their responsibilities.—D. Bowen, Walsall, W. Midlands.

The following is from an editorial about the 1981 tour of New Zealand by the South-African rugby team, published in The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) of Wednesday 25th March 1981:

If the tour goes ahead, there is the possibility that the Commonwealth Games to be held next year in Brisbane will be thrown into the same confusion as the 1976 Olympics when most of the African nations pulled out in protest over the tour of South Africa by a New Zealand rugby team. Mr Abraham Ordia, the president of the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa, warned before he left Australia this week that if the tour went ahead, it could be the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” There is the possibility that the 15 African nations might confront the authorities with the choice of African or New Zealand participation. […]
There are strong pressures we can exert to persuade the New Zealand Government to move from its position of benign neglect. New Zealand will not want to be named and shamed as the country which destroyed the Commonwealth Games.

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