Monday, October 3, 2016

Thoughts on Bullying - part 2

In part 1 of this 2 part series I talked about how I was impacted as a child and my thoughts on how to get handle on being bullied. In this episode I want to talk about bullying in the modern era.

Let's see what the Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary says the definition of bullying is:

bully verb  bul·ly
Simple Definition of bully
: to frighten, hurt, or threaten (a smaller or weaker person) : to act like a bully toward (someone)
: to cause (someone) to do something by making threats or insults or by using force
Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

These days there is still plenty of bullying and there are lots of people calling it out. But there is this new type I am seeing where people are more actively becoming a bully to silence others who do not agree with their beliefs regardless of the presence of logic.

 A recent Facebook post by Ian Soliterman featured a video that shows how this works. In the video we see a young man wearing a hat with the words "Make America Great Again" which happens to be the slogan for Donald Trump's Presidential campaign. Regardless of your affiliation or beliefs, it is rather hard to belief that this phrase can be interpreted as hate speech in anyway since it is really just saying that America isn't as good as it was in the past and the speaker/wearer believe that we should work to make America better than it is. It says nothing about race or political/sexual preference. And yet a young lady begins to demand that he remove his hat on the grounds that it is hate speech.
She has the right to tell him this, whether she is right or wrong, but he also has the right to wear the hat. If it had an obscene image or phrase then there would be grounds to remove the hat, but alas, it is all about a 4 word statement. However, that isn't the part that makes her a bully. That comes when she begins to tells him that if he doesn't remove the hat she will go to the president of the school, because she has a meeting with him already, and the president will punish this young man for not removing his hat. The bullying is even more amazing in that this is a person who tells everyone they have to practice tolerance and yet obviously has none.

Sadly the video ends with someone actually being all happy that they ran over and stole his hat. The victorious look on their face for just stealing a hat is sad in so many ways. It honestly looks like teh punchline in a Saturday Night Live skit.

Just because you believe something doesn't give you the write to coerce others into doing what you want and to observe your beliefs. Bullying happens when people don't know how to communicate and also don't know how to negotiate. If they can't handle not getting their way then they resort to the aggressive mode and start forcing others to do what they want by physical or mental force.

The right way to handle the solution? Discuss the difference. Many times the real problem is that you don't agree with them and one of you is operating under the misconception that you are the only correct. Sometimes you are both right... to a degree. Sometimes you are wrong and they are right. Sometime they are right and you are wrong. Figure it out and come to an understanding.

Once it reaches the point that this video shows, then the right thing to do is either walk away and get assistance or stand up for yourself. Many times they only bully because they feel empowered when you don't resist. The young man in this video would be best served to take the video and show it to school authorities. Although in this day and age that may actually do nothing for him.

But how should you, dear reader, behave?
- Treat others with respect and don't push your views on others.
- If others don't agree with you, discuss it.
- If others result to violence either escape or stand. The situation will have to determine the choice you make, but you have the right to defend yourself.
- Don't allow yourself to me made the victim... stand up for yourself and others.

- TT

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