The act of bullying is an indicator that a person feels inferior inside and must lash out at individuals who they perceive as weaker, smaller, or simply non-threatening. This usually stems from physical or psychological abuse, which is then reinforced by elitist doctrines from authority figures (sports coaches, school faculty, local business owners and police). This elitist indoctrination informs the already damaged individuals that they are better than their victims, that hazing is normal, that their victims are undesirables or somehow deserving of punishment, and so on.
I was bullied as a child. Students, the faculty, the police, local merchants, and even members of my own family treated me as an outsider. Immediately, one can point to my intense individualism. For example, I grew my hair long and refused to brush it. This may not seem like a big deal, but it was. It was in the 1980s so I was accused of being behind the time (the truth is that I was ahead of the game considering when Heavy Metal became more mainstream). I wore denim head to toe covered with patches, work boots, and flannels over concert shirts. I listened to the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, and The Beatles while everyone else listened to Boy George, Duran Duran, Wham, and Michael Jackson. I was instantly a target.
I eventually cut my hair and started wearing dress shirts and slacks. Although I was accepted by the local merchants as someone worthy of hiring, I was still considered dangerous (yes, I was described in that way) because of my fierce anti-authoritarian streak, my acerbic wit, my outspokenness when faced with injustice, my take no prisoners attitude towards those who I felt had wronged me, and because I am quasi-influential.
By "take no prisoners", I do not mean physical attacks. I am a peaceful man at heart. What I mean is that I would call people out, in public settings. I called bullshit, especially when it came to the topic of bullying.
My Dark Secret
My grandmother was the matriarch of our family. Everyone in the family, and immediate friends, gathered at her house for all holidays, birthdays, and when relatives or friends came in from out of town. My grandmother was very generous. If you were at her house, she would go into a litany of the food she had because she wanted desperately to feed you. She let everyone and their brother stay at her house for any length of time. She always, always, always wanted to give you a hug.
However, when I had long hair, dressed in my own style, and was in the crux of being harassed and brutalized by almost everyone in my life (literally, people would yell shit or throw eggs from moving cars) my grandmother said things like "don’t tell anyone you are related to me". I was an embarrassment to her. When her children (my uncles and aunts) picked on me or made threats in front of her, she laughed or walked away.
When I re-married I had moved my family back to Massachusetts, my wife did not understand why I refused to go to my grandmother’s house for gatherings. She did not understand why I refused to visit my uncles and aunts. She gets it now after seeing their true colors.
My grandmother died over ten years ago. My family no longer gathers as they used to. Now, only the elites within the family gather. When one of them comes to town, they do not invite the entire family to welcome the visitor, just the elites are invited. My own sister is part of that elitism. She has come to town on numerous occasions without telling me. I know it was not her intent, but it hurt. My sister aside, these things I speak of here are subtle examples of the underlying elitist attitudes in our culture that empower bullying.
For the record, I do not hate my sister. I love her very much. This is only my perspective on our interactions.
Public schools require reform. We need to break the focus on control and elitism. At this time, public schools across America foster bullying as a way to weed out undesirables. Even with Zero Tolerance Policies and laws in place, faculty administrators will routinely quash any complaints or reports and then punish the victims. Many times, the faculty bullies these children as well, especially after reporting an attack from a peer. They will literally push kids out of the school system (either into homeschooling or to simply quit). This enforces elitism, by protecting the kids they like and punishing the kids they do not like or care about. This attitude carries over into the bully's adult life as they pass on these learned values to their children, and re-enact them at work.
This page is dedicated to the victims of bullying. You are the Beautiful People, the special ones, the ones for whom I fight these battles of words.
My First Day of High School
Athletic Programs Teach Goals - and Help Bullies
Bad Teacher Sets a Bad Example