Our Internet world is filled with tales of tragic teens who die by their own hand. Cruelly tormented daily, these teens feel sufficiently alone and alienated from society that they don’t think that things will get better. They cannot see past their daily torment and feel the need to end it all. One of the main reasons for this is the religious and cultural bullying of any child outside the norm.
You are a target if you are outside the groups that form our society in schools.
In particular this is aimed at those kids who are homosexual or queer because society excuses bullying them. It provides a variety of reasons to bully them and most of it is grounded in religion.
So while most people are about halting and stopping bullying, Herman Goodden takes a different tack. A catholic tack…
Bullying is taking up an awful lot of space in our public and private conversations, making an old duffer wonder if some sort of qualitative change really has taken place regarding this age-old . . . phenomenon. I almost called it a “problem” but that would be to buy into the current thinking about bullying, which is unrealistic, not very helpful and dishonestly coercive.
Is it? Is it really? Bullying takes up space in our conversations but does it take up more space in our conversation than celebrities who consume raw animal testicles for fame? Does it take up more space in our conversation about millionaires with intelligent feet kicking balls at a giant net? Tell me what should we consider as adequate discussion of bullying rather than an excessive one?
Certainly it’s no fun to be on the receiving end of bullying. And in extreme outbreaks there can indeed be cause to enlist the help of school and even police authorities. But in the general run of things, I don’t believe we’re ever going to eradicate bullying and, furthermore, shining a spotlight on behaviour that will usually burn itself out in a few days can do more harm than good both to perpetrators and victims by commemorating that which might more beneficially be forgotten.
Extreme outbreaks? Again what do you consider as excessive bullying? While bullying may be hard to stamp out, you can reduce it and you can stop the worst effects of it.
Some bullying does die down, some carries on. The ones that die down generally die down spontaneously and never come to light. But the one that continues is the ones we are trying to stop because it’s the ones we CAN stop.
It might be pleasant (if a little boring) to believe that children could find a way to grow up without ever coming into conflict with one another, but they never shall. In the furiously churning, soul-shaping cauldron of adolescence, young people look for models of behaviour they might want to emulate and they also look inside as certain characteristics emerge, some of which they discover cannot be jettisoned, even if it might be “cooler” to do so.
I understand the world is a terrifying place and that bullying can help “toughen” kids up. Despite what we think the world is pretty horrid and sometimes we have to teach our kids that they aren’t special or unique. It’s a fantasy we tell our kids and it’s a fantasy that many of them take to their adult life where they are stunned into reality. Perhaps a little bit of the lash is needed. Bullies exist in adult life too, dealing with bullies made me better at my job. But that’s me. I don’t expect other people to grow out of bullying as I did.
You can teach kids these lessons without feeding them to the lions of social combat. Not everyone is up to it and not everyone comes to the fight equally armed. Some people blossom into tough savvy adults at different paces. And while I think teaching our kids that they are all super special and reducing competition can sometimes look foolish I understand the need to keep kids interested without some kids running away with all the prizes. There has to be a balance between universality and rewarding excellence. And between coddling and throwing children to the wolves.
During this process young people can be mercilessly judgmental of everyone, including their peers, some of whom (for today at least) they’ll decide they like and some of whom they’ll dislike. If someone watches the wrong TV shows or listens to the wrong bands or wears the wrong shoes — these are not some blameless and inexplicable whimsy of taste as most of us regard them later in life when we are comparatively sane. No, these are social, indictable offences that must be commented upon, put down and even punished.
Or you know… If they like people of the same gender. I know where this is going…
Most instances of bullying soon blow over with no input necessary from the authorities. Sometimes the perpetrators themselves come to realize that their actions are over the top and modify their behaviour. Often, the victims discourage its continuance by standing up to their bullies — verbally or physically — or else they remove the sting of bullying by sloughing it off and not rising to such cheap and inflammatory bait.
Yes, but I solved my bully problem with cutting sarcasm and by “being a bully myself”. It is not an ideal solution to this issue. And it’s hard to solve your bully problem if what you have done is universally regarded as “Pariah Status Worthy”. Like you know…if you are gay.
It’s very hard to live with the consistent and constant bullying and feeling of an outcast if you are in that situation because you are universally despised. You cannot say that it gets better because in many cases gay people have to put up with this kind of bullying all their lives. That’s the main group who are protected when we put anti-bully laws in place.
Either of these approaches is infinitely superior to letting elders get involved, mostly because young people deal with things more directly and honestly. Once you get the authorities involved, everybody has to start playing nice and affirming one another’s okayness. Smothering in officially sanctioned indifference probably doesn’t seem to matter much if the underlying disagreement is about Justin Bieber or high-topped running shoes. But there’s a danger that the lesson being learned is that it’s wrong to ever voice disagreement or disapproval and one should always strive to please everyone else.
It’s also wrong to respond to “I fucked your mum” with “I fucked your dad and he liked it” but it didn’t really stop me from saying it aged 14. And it was also wrong for me aged 15 to solve a bully problem through a fist fight. That’s one of the direct and honest ways of solving problems after all…
It is not about Okayness. We know it’s a casual implication that Catholics aren’t given free reign to tell people what they think of their lifestyles.
And no we don’t strive to please everyone. We strive to get along.
When busybody authorities start refereeing disputes, Catholic youth are particularly at risk of being bullied (in the blandest possible way, of course) into soft pedalling important tenets of their faith. Being cowed in this way in their developing years is bad training for standing up to the bullies we all inevitably encounter as adults — whether its bosses, unions, a hectoring media with a virulently secular agenda to promote or the atheists and over-sensitive multicultural types who emerge from the woodwork at about this time of year to throw a blanket over public expression of Christmas celebrations.
Catholic Youth Are More Prone to be Bullied… I have a message…
“Away and Boil Your Head you Sanctimonious Bastard. I fucking remember being a right twat at school because I was a bully and I was fucking excellent at it because I was a relatively small bespectacled INDIAN KID in a place full of huge white guys who had never ever seen one before. I had weird food, weird hair, didn’t burn in the sun and studied a lot. And back then that was fair game. I either beat them at their game or I got beaten so I got good.”
I know the elements “Catholic Kids” wish to Hard Sell. The kind of bullshit that tore apart cities in Ireland and poisoned Scotland’s football, the kind of bullshit that allows Catholics to tell other people they are going to hell if they don’t believe in Catholic Jesus or hate on gays. And primarily it is to hate on gays and perhaps shame a few of those teenage sluts. After all if you cannot flog guilt then what sort of Catholic are you!
It is not bullying to curtail the freedom of speech of someone who is using that freedom to flog hate. If your beliefs as a religious person are unacceptable in polite society then you are not allowed to voice them. For the same reason that kids aren’t allowed to follow Catholic kids around and tell them that false worship of Mary will doom them to hell.
A near-constant element in the modern concern about bullying is the magnifying impact of the Internet and social networking gadgets which, we are told, makes it seem like the victims can never escape their tormentors. They could, though, if they’d just summon the will to unplug the darned things. Last summer my wife and I were dining at an outdoor patio and saw six young people sitting together at a table across the way, each one of them ignoring their flesh and blood friends so they could noodle away on their nefarious handheld thingies.
Yes. Allow people to be bullied off an universal forum. You hear that Ophelia!
If only you UNPLUGGED your devices, the fake profiles would stop! Take advice from this man! He knows bullying!
Seriously? Internet Harassment may not be as bad as physical harassment but it is bad. It is detrimental and it does hurt people’s feelings. It is bullying and it isn’t funny. To harass people off a common forum and a massive social tool that binds our kids together is to not get what it means to our kids.
Our kids, thankfully, made it through school just before the use of such devices became so pathetically ubiquitous. And significantly all three of them have at various times recognized that their dependence on that virtual world was becoming disproportionate and unhealthy and have made a point of going off-line for a season or two until they got their equilibrium back.
What is pathetic is the excusing of bullies, not the usage of technology. We may be nerds, but it is we who make your world work.
And my grandfather never went to school. In fact my grandmother was the one who taught him to write… English… My Burmese grandmother taught him to write and count. What was common place once isn’t any more. Now the majority of us can read and write.
And therefore we can now read! Yes! Read! Instead of talking to each other! (My great grandfather has apparently said this…)
And the internet is a tool much like a screwdriver. It can do a lot of things but it is up to the parent to MONITOR it. The effect of bullying can be reduced by actually sitting down and having a good rapport with your kids. But to say “hide from something everyone uses”?
I play Video Games a lot. Do I have to hide from people who call me Paki? Do women have to hide from all the insults (Slut, Bitch, Whore,) that gets bandied around on video games? Black people hide from their racists? No? We try and fight our bullies here, then why the fuck should we tolerate bullies in the virtual world outside this?
Young people have a way of figuring these things out. The same would apply to bullying.
Well Suicide is Painless. That’s an answer that a lot of people have “figured out” too.
Bullying is wrong, we may not be able to stop the mild stuff but we should at least stop the big stuff and teach our kids to get along so as to curtail the mild stuff. To excuse bullying in this fashion as a method for toughing up children and then implying that “Catholic Kids” are prone to being bullied for flogging their beliefs is rather tasteless. Words hurt a lot.