Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.~ Dr. Seuss
The issue of bullying has become a real issue over the past several years. It is such a real problem that there have been laws developed to cover specific procedures required for training school administration and how to recognize it. That's right - state laws have been put in place to handle what used to be something taken care of by two kids on the playground at recess or after school.
I've often wondered what has caused such a shift in the way humans interact with one another when it comes to conflict. I have attempted to distinguish the difference between now and how similar situations would have been handled in the last century. I decided to have a brief discussion with my dad. He grew up in the fifties and sixties during segregation and integration. Immediately the differences are obvious because of the addition of social media in our generation. With that fundamental difference in mind, we tried to discuss the general issue of bullying. The main points of our discussion boiled down to a couple ideas: do not allow anyone to control how you feel about yourself and be an individual.
Of course our conversation wasn't that simple, but each time we branched off into a related topic we were always routed back to those main ideas.
In an effort to be apart of creating more awareness, I reached out to three individuals from different perspectives - middle school, high school, and an adult. These people were affected by bullying in some way and agreed to share their story.
Shedding light on bully awareness as told by Ckia, a middle school student.
Being bullied isn’t the best thing. It puts you down and tears down your self-confidence. Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated or has the potential to be repeated over time.
I have experienced bullying at the age 10 years old in the 4th grade and it wasn’t very pleasant. In elementary school I was the only African American girl in my grade and class. The days went by and I started to notice that some boys would stare at me and laugh at me all of the time. They would tell me that I wasn’t special and no one liked me because I was a different race than everyone else. At the time, I didn’t realize why people judged other people and I didn’t see why they thought it was right. I didn’t know how to handle the situation since I was only in the 4th grade so I just cried instead of telling my parents or principal.
As the year progressed, I was getting tired of crying because I realized it wasn't doing me any good. Crying was only making it worse. Now that I am in 7th grade, I have talked to my mom and realized I shouldn’t care what other people think. As long as I know I’m not what they call me then I shouldn’t worry about it. My mom also told me that the reason people bully other kids is possibly because they may have problems at home that they try to hide or take out on other people. As I grew older I kept that with me to know that I shouldn’t care what other people think of me. Even though I don’t always enforce that thought I still know.
Bullying is not OK because it hurts other people. They get depressed and commit suicide because of bullying. Knowing that bullying is not OK, we should do what we can to stop it.
Shedding light on bully awareness as told by Kaci, a high school student.
I was a victim of physical, mental, and emotional bullying. It deeply restricted me even after the bullying stopped. I was afraid to communicate. As a matter of fact, I didn't know how. Of course I think bullying is disgusting, but it is going to take everyone to realize that in order to make a difference. We live in an age where people want everything to be taken as a joke, so it is difficult to decipher what's real or not. I've noticed in my community, whenever someone is being bothered, the person causing harm manages to convince everyone around to dismiss the action or words as a joke. I saw a post on Tumblr that talked about how administration tells students to always come to them for help however, once a student does reach out the situation isn't handled. The post further discussed how the school apologized for the loss of the student after he or she committed suicide and said something along the lines of "We hope to take better precautions to prevent these tragedies." Those are simply people pleasing words. 'Preventing tragedies' sounds like an improvement to me, so if a school has an increasing or consistent rate of bullying/violence related incidents then nothing is being done. Support groups and the promotion of positive actions could be a great start!
Also, we need to be clear that blame isn't forced onto the bullies; HATE IS AN ADOPTED NATURE! We do not come out of the womb with the intent to hurt someone, nor do we have the knowledge of it. Our brains are soaking up every single thing we see, hear, and feel from the minute we enter this world. Once we see violence, it is assumed as a norm. That's why small children don't immediately consider "hitting" or other negative things as bad. They are mimicking someone or something. If they haven't seen it in the home, then they saw it somewhere else. It is not possible for the brain to have no knowledge of negative actions, and just out of the blue decide, "I want to punch that kid." That is why it is EVERYONE'S RESPONSIBILITY to make a difference. If Jane Doe unconsciously teaches her child violence, the child will repeat it and spread the negativity to everyone at daycare. Then those newly acquired actions and words are passed on. The human race is infected with negativity. Bullying is stemmed from hate. Side effects of hate are bitterness, anger, self-depreciation, and the belittlement of others. Physical issues are a result of the latter and are also adopted. If it is too late to lead the older minds, then we can start with the young children. If we see our child being mean, let them know that their actions can really hurt others. Keep reminding them until they get to a point of understanding. We also have to stop laughing at violence. I'm guilty of it. For example: A person walks up behind another and slaps them on the back of the head. There are usually two reactions from the crowd, a gasp and then laughter. I don't know if the gasp is a moment of empathy or if the laughing is a defense mechanism, but I've seen it happen. People flood social media with fights. There is even a website known for viral fights! All you hear in the background is gasps, laughs, and the encouragement of negativity. However when one person gets seriously hurt, the atmosphere changes; people are concerned.
Bullying is the cover page for unconscious violence. By that I mean, we fight and hate on each other, but why? What reason? We have no legitimate reason. We try to excuse ourselves: "I don't like her." "He did this." "It's what we have to do." BULLYING IS THE GREATEST EXPRESSION OF HAVING NO SELF-CONTROL. Also bullying isn't just limited to the schools or children. It happens with adults, politics, and countries. It is a problem with the human race and as long as the ignorant are involved it cannot be eliminated. We can definitely change the ratios though. We can make a big enough difference through inspiration and self-reflection and improvement to have less bullying. It isn't easy changing what someone else does, especially if it's negative, but we can definitely change ourselves and be a great example. Whether we like it or not, we are simultaneously learners and teachers. If we are going to improve this world, it has to start with teaching and learning the right things. If you ever wonder what the right things are they often times are the things that do not result in negativity.
If someone is being bullied, help them. Get help for the bully as well because there's some negativity that needs to be removed and resolved in them.
Our assumed inability to get out of our own heads, not rely on expectations, and possess love are the only reasons we are failing and killing each other off. It has to start with you as an individual.
Be nice and share some smiles.
Shedding some light on bully awareness as told by Schrundagale, an adult
When we ordinarily think of bullying, we think of the schoolyard bully trying to exert their power, but what happens when the equations change and it is present in adult life. Having experienced bullying while attaining my educational pursuits, I was reminded of the typical schoolyard bully and all his antics. Bullying can be defined as the use superior strength or influence to intimidate-- typically to force him or her to do what one wants. Now, I am not talking about the use of physical force, but rather the use of psychological force to try and demean another and trying to get others to join in to make the situation even more uncomfortable for the person being bullied.
While in college, students in my classes were grouped together in order to encourage collaboration. Groups would plan, research, and present together for class credit. The benefit of this type of learning is to get varied views on issues/projects that yield a better result. On one such occasion, my group was to ‘open’ a business and present it to a fictitious board of directors for approval. Our group decided to open a children’s boutique that would not only have stylish, modern clothing, but it would also have an indoor playground too with excellent customer service to cater to style-conscious mothers. Everybody had a job and mine was to find a great location that would house our establishment and meet our needs. I researched and found a location that already had high family foot traffic, was centrally located, and catered to the same population that we were targeting. When I presented my ideas, however, they were not well-received.
To better understand the situation, let me explain a few details about our group. Our group was not culturally diverse and most of its members deemed themselves the ‘upper crust’ of society. I personally did not fit that mold. I am just as comfortable in bargain-priced jeans as I am in designer fashions (I own both) and can rock either depending on the occasion. This sometimes made others uncomfortable. On one such occasion at a local restaurant, I was presenting my ideas on the matter and identifying some of the strengths and opportunities that this location would give us. Conversations ensued and it became apparent that one person in particular did not like the location, but could not offer up another location or any tangible reason why this location would not suffice—please remember that this is an imaginary project. After I vocalized that I disagreed with her unsupported summation, she proceeded to push her plate across the table at me! Because I knew Jesus Christ as my Savior, I took a moment to breathe before I responded to her foolish behavior. I decided that she needed to know that her response was inappropriate and left. This bully needed to know this was unacceptable and would not be tolerated and that she did not deserve my attention. Over the course of a few months things progressed to the point of needing an intervention. The bully actually took responsibility for her actions, but only because she thought that I was going to tell school administrators of her behavior. I had no need to, she herself as well as others in this group did a pretty good job of convicting themselves. I just sat back and watched as each shared their stories of the disunity in our group as I presented last. I told the school administrator that I was perplexed and had no knowledge that all these pent up emotions from others existed. I also communicated how I had attempted to share more ideas after that meeting, how I had tried to arrange another meeting in my home to smooth rough edges, and other things I had done to attempt to bring cohesiveness to no avail. The administrator thanked me for my efforts and met with the rest of the group to redirect their behaviors. I still remember thinking only God can do stuff like this. He empowered me to politely, but firmly stand and not accept letting others treat me any kind of way. I was not reprimanded but others were.
Bullies work best when victims remain silent… I will not be silenced!
This weekend Angel Eyez Productions is sponsoring their 3rd annual Anti-Bully Awareness Youth Spring Talent Show. The event was started to encourage and motivate youth to be creative and also to bring families together to discuss a disturbing subject that is effecting so many.
The event is from 2 pm until 4 pm at Longview Community Center. For more information on how to attend or donate visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/1AngelEyez/
Let's continue to shed light!