“Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.” –Thoreau

11 October 2010

It gets better because we make it so.

A Message From Ellen Degeneres
A lot of positive energy is being aimed at the victims of this kind of bullying, and I'm behind that 100%. But I also have something to say to the bullies...

I can't pretend that we live in a world that's easy for anyone, men or women, gay or straight. It would be unfair and untrue. The United States of America is a volatile place to live right now. Human rights advancements made over the last fifty years-- for women, for homosexuals, for African Americans-- are at risk of back-tracking thanks to an economic downturn that none of us were prepared to handle. When people are scared, they look for someone to blame. Most of the time, we lay the blame at the doorstep of anyone we perceive to be "other" than ourselves. It's a human failing we've all succumbed to, and most of us are ashamed of it. Most, but not all.

It makes me so angry to hear parents defending their bigoted children, claiming that "kids pick on other kids" and this behavior is normal. Normal does not equal moral. Do we assume that, as adults, high school bullies will somehow calm down? That they'll see the error of their ways? That they'll simply grow up and grow out of it? What incentive have we, as a society, given these children which might lead them to "grow out" of anything? People normally run stop signs. They normally steal office supplies from work. They normally cheat on exams. Good parents hold their children to a higher moral standard than that which is simply "normal."

We have laws and statutes which protect us against stalking, against slander, against harassment, against hate crimes... Why aren't these laws being followed in order to protect children and young adults in cases such as these? The schools always, always know who's being bullied and who's doing the bullying. Why aren't the schools held accountable by law enforcement to report cases where bullying slides into physical violence or hate crimes?

There is no such thing as "normal" teenaged bullying, anyway. No bullying feels "normal" to the kid being bullied, and they are the only person whose opinion matters. It is not normal for one human to beat the crap out of another human, or to publicly humiliate them, or to torture them with rumors and catty backstabbing. It is certainly not normal to videotape your roommate having sex and broadcast it over the internet, regardless of their sexual orientation. People who do these things are suffering from various degrees of sociopathy and their parents should be very, very worried. If they aren't-- well, they aren't very good parents then, are they?

Is your child a bully? Is your brother or sister a bully? Are you? It's a big, crazy world out there and I can understand if you're feeling worried, or restless, or scared. But taking it out on another person doesn't prove how wrong they are and it certainly doesn't improve the outlook for you. What employer in their right mind would hire the boy who made that hateful internet broadcast? It only makes him look twisted and hateful and sort of sad. And I just can't understand how it's worth it. Well, I guess that's because it never is.

Blessings, everyone.