Kids get bullied all the time. Right now. At every school. Regardless of race, gender, religion, class. Mean kids fuck with other kids. Every day. Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? Millions? We can’t say because we don’t keep count.
It’s condoned. It’s tolerated. Teachers turn a blind eye to it. Principals don’t want their schools’ reputations tarnished by it. “Kids being kids.”
A tragedy is a tragedy is a tragedy. Let’s not make this into a race issue. Regardless of race, the rates of suicide among American youth is beyond staggering. They are taking their own lives because we are going out of our way to drown out their cries for help. They’re trying to tell us about their suffering, and we cooly tell them to just deal with it, because that’s just how it is. And the parents of the bullies have no idea that their own precious darlings are vindictive assholes, and refuse to believe it when pointed out. Every now and then, there is a headline about a tragedy of bullying or tragedy. But these over-popularized rarities don’t even come close to reflecting the epidemic of hatred and hurt that’s commonplace in our schools across the nation.
Before I graduated high school, I knew too many classmates who seriously talked about suicide. I stood up to way too many bullies. Oftentimes, many were my own friends. They were cool with my weird ass, but they found other reasons to hate on others. And then there were those who weren’t my friends who found any variety of reasons to try to make my life more miserable than it already was. By the time I graduated high school, I was stunned by the number of kids who didn’t live to see that day with me. Kids we weren’t allowed to talk about, outside of whispered rumors. Kids who disappeared as if nothing happened.
One kid who was bullied, got the attention of his community, of his school, of the internet. One kid got us talking. Let’s not talk about race, or privilege or what separates the bullies from the bullied. Let’s talk about all the other kids we continue to ignore in our own communities, in our own schools, in our own homes.
As far as I’m concerned, there is no neutral ground when it comes to bullying. You are either part of the problem, or part of the solution. You are either bullying, passively ignoring/condoning the bullying, or being bullied. Regardless of your age, gender, whatever. I think that the main problem with bullying is (much like other widespread pervasive social ills) that we get so caught up in pointing fingers at others, with almost zero consideration for our own roles in it. We should be more conscious about the impact that we have with the people in our daily lives. We talk about tolerance and being positive, but is that really reflected in our actions?