This is a complicated subject in that bullies have often been urged to do what they do or have been bullied themselves and are seeking their own form of revenge. I came across a story in Kindergarten when I was a young kid that stuck with me. It involved a man stressed by bullying at work who hits his wife and in turn his wife hits their son and the son then hits his little sister. So who does the little sister hit? Her teddy bear. What’s the message here? It is transference of anger and hurt. It isn’t very nice but it is understandable and it is, sadly, all too human.
In the movie The Breakfast Club starring Judd Nelson (1985) a youmng man is urged to pick on a brainiac because his dad is a jock and so hates brainiacs. The young man doesn’t want to do it but he does want to please his dad. Later on in the film he says he is sorry to the kid he picked on to please his dad and they decide that they can be friends after all.
Religion can be a factor in bullying. In a doctumentary I saw a while ago a high school girl living in the Bible belt of the USA was picked ion by teachers as well as students because she was Jewish. I just hope that since that film was made the particular school in question plus its teachers have managed to clean up their act. Even so, that it should happen in the USA where freedom of religion is assured by the constitution is scarey.
In New South Wales, Australia a small group of Muslim youth decided to pick on Australian girls on Australian beaches because they were wearing bikinis and not tents. To add fuel to the fire, a life guard was hit after he had saved a life. Was this bullying on the part of this Muslim youth? You bet it was. The result? A peaceful demonstration against this abuse got out of hand and turned into a riot. Unfortunately the media today only remember the riot and not what caused it.
RACISM AND SEXISM
Racism and sexism exist. What’s more, they have been with us a very long time. Wars have come about because of racism. Dictators have been put into power because of fear and hatred for the other whoever the other might be.
Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany because the democracy created in the last year of the First World War had, in the eyes of the people, failed. Its failure in the eyes of the people could be linked to the bullying the German people suffered from the English and the French after the First World War. The people had gone through shortages of food and medicine. Jobs were hard to come by and for years inflation made life very difficult. The USA calmed things down with loans to Germany but, when the Great Depression hit, those loans were called in. It seemed obvious that a strong leader was needed. Hitler seemed to be that leader. The Jews, Gypsies and what Hitler thought of as other non-Germans living in Germany were blamed for Germany not winning the First World War. Communists and strong union leaders were also seen as the enemy of the developing Nazi state. In a sense those who had felt bullied were now becoming the bullies. The result of all this? Concentration camps, death camps and all out war.
Nowadays in countries like the USA guns are too easy to come by and there are strong divisions within schools. A kid picked on by jocks because he isn’t a jock can too easily get a gun to get even. A jock humiliated in class by a brainiac might turn to violence but will most likely use his fists. Women are not cut out of this business. Young women don’t seem to be as yet responsible for hands on violence in schools to the extent of young men but they have been known to egg bullies on. This I believe is worse than ascting the bully. The answer? Weaken the divisions in the schools. Make guns hard to come by. Make sure bullioes are properly punished for what they do and also have them come to terms with the wrongness of what they have done. Also punish any cheer leaders of violence by at least making them aware of the damage they do.
RACISM AND SEXISM IN THE OFFICE
I am with Franz Kafka on this one. I am also with Lewis Carroll. Governments may do their best to address these issues but it is really up to the people in whatever office. I know about political correctness. I know it doesn’t work. What you end up doing is substituting one form of racism wirth another, one form of sexism with another. I make this clear in my novel Desk Job.