Just Because Bullying “Happened To Us When We Were Kids” Doesn’t Make It Okay TODAY. Then Again, It Wasn’t Right Back Then, Either

boy-child-being-bullied-by-two-other-boys

People who bully others are cowards. Period. Now this blog post could stop right there and I’ve said a mouthful. However, there are always those “special” individuals who don’t seem to “get it,” so let me break it down further.

Bullying is and has always been a serious problem. It’s not “more” of a problem today than it was before. It’s not happening more and kids are not more “sensitive” or “weaker” than we were coming up.

When we were younger, many of us can recall being bullied.  Looking back now, what can we say were some of the reasons we were bullied?  For me, it was because I was smart and got good grades.  It was because I had white friends.  It was because I didn’t carry myself as a typical black kid should have.  Are any of those “good” reasons to be bullied?  Of course not.

You likely have different reasons you believe you were bullied.  Are ANY of them GOOD reasons?

People who bully do so out of jealousy.  They feel threatened by you in some way.  They need to rise above you and try to knock you down a notch because it helps their self-esteem.  Many of them may have learned it from someone else and are simply doing it because it’s all they know.  None of these reasons are acceptable, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it does happen.

One thing people really need to stop doing is calling today’s generation “weak” because more people are reporting or talking about being bullied.  Quite frankly, it’s idiotic for people to say that.  You’re not “tougher” than today’s kids.  You’re an adult.  Of course you’ve experienced more, so you likely can handle things a little better than a child/teenager can. What people need to do before shooting off at the mouth and berating today’s generation about being bullied is to think back to the times YOU were bullied.  Put yourself back in the shoes of THAT version of you, NOT today’s.

I will be 36 years old in about two months.  I was bullied a lot in middle and high school.  Obviously, I have a different outlook on how to deal with things now than I did more than twenty years ago. I now have children who are the age I was when I was bullied back then. Why would it make sense for me to inject the almost 36-year-old me into a conversation about how a 16-year-old should handle bullying?  It doesn’t make a lot of sense.  I can give constructive advice on what to do, but that advice should be on THEIR level, not mine.

Bullying was wrong back then, too.  That’s what people fail to realize.  Many think that just because it happens or has been tolerated, that makes it okay.  It doesn’t.  Ever hear a person say, “Well she must enjoy it” when referencing a woman in an abusive relationship?  On top of that simply being an ignorant statement, it doesn’t matter how long the woman remains in that relationship.  The abuse is wrong.  Period.  Her staying doesn’t “minimize” its wrongness in some way.  Just because she hasn’t gotten up the nerve to leave doesn’t mean the focus should shift away from the head of the snake: The asshole who is abusing her. Her leaving simply means that he will do it someone else.  Stop thinking that the woman leaving will solve the problem of abuse.  It won’t.

But back to bullying.  In my opinion, bullying is a lot worse now than it was when I was a kid.  The biggest reason is that back then, there was no Facebook, Twitter, or any other forms of social media.  Basically, the bullying mostly happened when I was in school and once I got off the bus at the house, it was done.  I could hide out in the house the rest of the night and wouldn’t be bothered.

However, today, kids don’t have that option.  Social media gives bullies more avenues to do their bullying.  We can’t just tell kids to “stay off the internet,” because for one, that’s silly, and two, a LOT of work is done on the internet these days.  Kids also like to interact with their friends and telling them to just “stop” will not be enough.  Then again, look at how many of you as grown adults won’t even “stop” something just because someone tells you to.  Can’t expect the same thing out of kids, especially when many of them are more stubborn than we are.

As for us “dealing with it and turning out just fine,” we didn’t have a choice.  It always gets me when older people or folks my age are quick to talk about how we “handled” bullying back then.  We didn’t.  We prayed, avoided, sweated and everything else when bullies were in our vicinities.  We ducked, dodged, handed over lunch money, did homework for them and everything else.  Many of us would have given our right arms to get the bullying to stop.  I know I would have.  I think about a particular bully when I was in the seventh grade, and I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was when he didn’t come to school on a particular day.  Not to mention, one day, he apparently picked a fight with the wrong person.  That person got the best of him and the next thing I know, he’s transferring schools.  Now this person was a rival of my older brother’s, but I was honestly grateful to him, because the bullying, at least from the kid messing with me, stopped obviously once he left.

Many of us “survived” bullying, yes, but how many would you estimate did not?  How would you even know?

Today, with all the social media out there and a larger emphasis on bullying, it seems we’re hearing about it just about every day.  Do you seriously think that the suicides and/or reporting is happening MORE now?  I’d put my money that NOT being the case.  It very likely happened just as much, if not more, back in the day.  The news wasn’t everywhere and social media didn’t exist, so many of us would NOT have heard about it anyway.

The responsibility of bullying somehow NOW falls on the victim rather than the person doing the bullying.  I’m not sure when that happened, but it’s nonsense.  So just because some of you don’t like the way a victim handles a bully, that means it is on the victim?  They commit suicide and THEY’RE the ones who are wrong?

What about the ones doing the bullying?  We should just let them slide because bullies “have always been around”? Hell, crime, murder, poverty and everything else has always been around also.  Should we just let those slide as well?

We should be encouraging kids to speak up more against bullying rather than berating them about it.  It’s laughable that a grown adult feels like a big man or woman by calling some kid they don’t even know “weak” because they committed suicide or have a problem with bullying.  I wouldn’t be surprised if those people were the ones who did the bullying themselves.

Make no mistake; I despise bullying.  Bullies are spineless cowards.  I would have no issue saying that to everyone who has ever bullied me in the past, but that was the past.  I don’t hold ill will toward them now.  Hell, a few have even apologized for it.  But BULLIES are the ones who need to be dealt with, not the victims.  The victims need our support.  They need our help.  There are more ways now for them to reach out for help.  Don’t put them down because they’re choosing to use these avenues.

Now many times, people are brave enough to stand up to bullies.  Kudos.  That’s great.  Some of us have it in us to dig deep down and defend ourselves once we are pushed to the limit.  Just remember that not everyone is strong in that way and we need to be letting them know that it’s all right; not putting them down for it.

Remember what it was like when you were being bullied.  Think about THAT before putting today’s kids down.  They don’t need the 36-year-old me’s answer.  They need the 16-year-old me’s sympathy and understanding.

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