Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bullying and "pussies"

Hey there,

Ah Social Media...just when I think I know you. So I came across an AP story about Karen Klein, the bus monitor that was bullied, taking a portion of the money people donated to her, and started an anti-bullying foundation.

If you're not familiar with the incident, you can google it, as well as watch the video which thrust the incident onto the national, and even international, stage. I personally haven't, and can't.


So, I posted the link on Facebook, and a friend shared it on her own page.  She said thanks, I responded you're welcome and then someone posted this:
Him: I mean I get it but is it just me or do people seem to be such huge pussies nowadays. By todays standard half the shit I encountered or possibly did myself growing up could be considered bullying or being bullied. I didn't whine about it or kill myself I just manned up.
This was not someone I knew so I can only assume it was a mutual friend at best. Now this is the part I love and hate about social media. Interacting with people you don't know in real life. Nevertheless, I responded with the following:
Me: I would have to say it is just you. I would recommend reading this article, because "bullying" is not the same as when we might've been growing up. Suicides aren't a sign that people are weaker than you might've been, it's a sign that they're enduring things (successfully and not) that make what you dealt with look like bullying foreplay. 
Besides, in a lot of cases (this bus monitor aside), we're not talking about people that are adults, we're talking about youth finding their way and coming into their own in a different world than the one we knew as youths.

http://www.everydayhealth.com/kids-health/5-reasons-bullying-is-worse-than-ever.aspx
And yes, we're not even addressing the fact that these kids were bullying an adult. I don't know about you, but I grew up respecting my elders. If anything, this was just proof positive that bullying is worse than its been. To which the individual who called those who are bullied pussies responded with:
Him: You're reply is riddled with assumptions that you know where I grew up, how I grew up or what I've encountered growing up.

I get that I really do I just think nowadays we live in a society of excuses. People don't man up, children are coddled and made to believe they're super special but when something comes along that shows them they're at best unexceptional at worst, they can't cope.

‎*Normal at best unexceptional at worst *
At this point, I took the gloves off. I thought I made my point, I backed it up with a source. But it was clear this was someone who had a world view that I would argue is part of the problem in dealing with the bullying issue. People that think they know what kids are going through today, and that think not being able to cope is their own fault, when it's not. I know plenty of adults who are still learning to cope, and have lost friends to suicide because they in a moment lost the ability and saw no other option. And we're not even talking about adults here, we're talking about kids killing themselves at younger ages. And a disproportionate number of those are LGBT youth. But that's neither here nor there. Here's my response to his claim that my reply assumed things:
Me: No it's not, it's based on summing up the points made in the link, one of the primary factors being the compounding effects cyber-bullying has on young people's psyches. I may not know how you grew up or anything about that, but I know for a fact that you didn't grow up with the social media platforms which enable youth to bully each other online in addition to having to face bullying and the real and cyber effects of it in person. 
"But thanks to the rise of social media and the Internet, bullying is no longer confined to just school property or hours." 
I made no assumptions about you, I merely stated the fact that things are different today than they were before. I'm sorry that you misunderstood any of my points, but definitely ask you re-read them and the article and comment on what I said. I can continue to give my two cents as well as post links, quote articles and include facts, but the conversation's useless if you're just going to ignore all that and resort to personal experience, anecdote, and personal "thoughts" devoid the context of anyone else's reality but your own. 
It sounds like you have an axe to grind against children that are coddled and what's worse is that the implication is that suicide is something that they deserve because they can't deal with being bullied. Even if that were true (and I'd like to see any facts you have to back that up that all children who commit suicide from being bullied were coddled), being coddled isn't the fault of the child but the parent, and the next step in your logic would be that parents who coddle their children deserve to have their kids take their own lives for not making them tougher. I personally wouldn't wish that on anyone, regardless of what I think of their parenting style. 
You say we live in a society of excuses, but the irony is that you sure seem to be making excuses for why anyone but the bully is responsible for what happens in terms of others reactions as a result of their actions, which to me would be the logical place to start. I'd say that you're point of view is a bigger problem we have, a society where some people like to try to blame the victim. 
Maybe something to think about.
I take a note from Ender's Game in my discussions and debates, making the points to drive the nail in the coffin. But sometimes, when people are so stuck in what they want to believe, or get defensive when being criticized, or sometimes don't even realize what they said, they find a way to pivot and still have something to respond to. And this person did:
Him: Ummm ... Where did I say bullies escape all blame? Where did I say those who are bullied are to blame? Where did I say I have an axe to grind with children? Again you seem bent on connecting dots that aren't even there. You apparently feel passionate about this and i can respect that about but don't let it turn you into being unable to see the difference between what I actually wrote as opposed to what you think I meant.
To which my rule of 3 kicked in. I have a rule of 3 for a lot of things, and in this case it was that my next response, my third one, would be my final one. Say all that I have to say, address what I can, and hope some of it sinks in. It's a response of last resort where I don't beat around the bush (not that I was earlier). But for me it's a little bittersweet. It's where I realize that there is no exchange of critical thought happening, and that we are just two brick walls running into each other. That being said, this final exchange is where I fortify mine while knocking the other one down. And so my final response was:
Me: okay...it's apparent you haven't thought about this as much as others, including myself, but trust that my comments have been in direct response to what you've typed (as I have nothing else to go on) and just because you never explicitly "blamed" anyone, that doesn't mean it wasn't implied. Regardless, I'll attempt once more to engage and respond to you on this, by answering what it seems like you think were rhetorical questions. 
To answer your 2nd question, I'll just start with your first comment: 
"I mean I get it but is it just me or do people seem to be such huge pussies nowadays. By todays standard half the shit I encountered or possibly did myself growing up could be considered bullying or being bullied. I didn't whine about it or kill myself I just manned up."
Hopefully that doesn't need to be explained, how you are putting the fault on those whore bullied. But I can do so if need be. 
To address your 3rd question, I didn't say you have an axe to grind with children, I said it seems like you have one (aka an issue with) children who are coddled (so don't take my words out of context), in which case I'll just quote your third comment: 
"I get that I really do I just think nowadays we live in a society of excuses. People don't man up, children are coddled and made to believe they're super special but when something comes along that shows them they're at best unexceptional at worst, they can't cope." 
Now to go back to your first question, you never say bullies escape all blame outright. But between you blaming children for being pussies in your first comment, and you not only reiterating that belief in your second comment but at the very most implying the parents as culpable, at no point do you mention those doing the bullying as factor in the situation, nor do you respond to the point I made and supported that bullying is worse now than its ever been.
Again, you don't ever say bullies are to blame, but the only ones you've mentioned are to blame are the pussies who don't man up and end up committing suicide (your first comment, paraphrased). 
I don't seem bent on connecting the dots. I just do. Unfortunately, it seems like you've resorted to projecting as you seem to be bent on ignoring good and valid points that unfortunately don't jive well with your own person world view. 
I'd ask you to not only carefully read what I wrote, but to read what you wrote as well and ask yourself what exactly it was you meant. Because if I got the wrong idea, then please correct me. But don't think any of my responses were completely baseless. 
I will say you're right on one thing. I am passionate about this issue, because I don't think it's fair to call children who don't have the tools and capacity you did, some of which end up taking their own lives, pussies. To which I'll end where I began, responding to your initial comment and reiterating that yes, it is just you.
I know I might've gone too far. I have a tendency to over-communicate rather than under-communicate. I'm not going to say that bullying's never existed before, but I do think people underestimate and misunderstand its causes and effects, particularly with Media 2.0

What do you think? Should I have even bothered? Does this sound like conversations you've had, and which side have you been on? What other high-profile incidents do you remember?

Please share in the comments, and let me know if this is an issue that you'd like to read more about,

-JR
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