Monday, October 11, 2010

Bullying

All the recent tragedies in the news about suicides from bullying and harrassment has me concerned. I have seen some nasty bullying in comments over the years on various blogs in DeafRead. It is the biggest reason I won't yet let my daughter participate on this blog. I just can't trust the commenters to behave themselves around a 12 year old girl. The anonymity of the blogesphere seems to breed comtempt. But it is not just here. As noted above, people seem to be getting more callous and hard-hearted everywhere. Somewhere during the "Me" generation, parents forgot to teach their kids compassion for others. The things they can get away with online seem to have blurred the lines with face-to-face interactions as well. People simply seem to no longer care about the feelings of others. It seems that as long as they can justify their behavior to themselves, anything goes. If a teen takes her own life, and the bullys that made her life hell can justify laughing at her during her own funeral, there is something seriously wrong with how those kids were raised.

There is really only one solution to the problem, and it starts with the parents. We must, absolutely MUST start teaching our kids respect and tolerance for others. In. All. Situations.

If we are to teach this, we must first live this. Online, and in real life, we must learn how to respect one another even if we disagree with their opinion. Every human being deserves to be safe, in body and soul. There is no justification for putting somebody else down because you disagree with something they have done, or believe, or how they live. Tolerance for others must become a priority in our lives. Religious, cultural, sexual orientation, physical differences, and for the D/deaf community - choices in D/deaf lifestyle. I don't care how you feel about someone's implant. They have a right to have or not have one, and parents have the right to choose this for their kids. An implant or the lack of one, does not make the person. We all have the responsibility to respect each other and not put them down or bully them because of their or their parent's choices. If kids in a deaf school are teasing another kid because s/he has an implant, it is probably because they learned at home that it was ok to get down on someone with an implant. If you as a parent have allowed that attitude, and your kid has become a bully because of it, you have some serious mirror work to do. Can any of us look at ourselves in the mirror without shame if we have allowed intolerance to fester in ourselves or our kids?

The only thing we cannot tolerate is intolerance. Please talk to your kids. Please look at the message you are sending them with your own words and actions. Please teach the difference between having an opinion different from someone else's and disrespecting them because of it. You never know when it will save a life.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amen! Excellent blog. I am a deaf mom of two young deaf children. I have an implant as well as my son. We have experienced firsthand ostracism from the "big D" community even though we are fluent ASL signers and involved with the school for the deaf in our area. It's really sad to witness bullying in this day and age when diversity is and *should* be celebrated in all forms. I teach my children daily the importance of accepting everyone..deaf, hearing, purple, what have you. Life is just too short and precious for such negativity that we're seeing lately. Sad.

K.L. said...

Sometimes, I think that the biggest reason God created so much diversity was to simply teach us tolerance. How can we have so much contempt for the diversity that God clearly loves so much? I just don't get it.

Sue said...

I agree that we must be examples to our children. I wouldn't want my child to read DR either right now.
The generalizations tend to overrun the truths. The hatred towards others beliefs and outright crusades against people and organizations to do nothing but harm is sad to see. It is one thing to bring about awareness of prejudice, discrimination, and human rights. There is nothing wrong with that. But when that awareness gets attacked by those who disagree and then start a crusade to harass, threaten, and oppress others intentionally then it has gone too far. No child should be venturing into this arena.

Dianrez said...

Cyberspace is too wild and uncontrolled an environment for kids, period.

Deaf/HOH kids are in an especially vulnerable position: they are more easily bullied and become bullies themselves because they experience it. Just teaching them kindness is more complicated because it involves teaching self preservation, too.

Protection from bullies involves teaching self-confidence and assurance. How this is done begins in the home from infancy.

Karen Mayes said...

That's a good blog posting. I have two kids who spend a good amount time on the computer (WoozyWorld for my daughter and Wizard101 for my son) so I am like ugh... I limit them on the computers... one hour daily, no more.

I stress again and again the need for respect and patience and acceptance. It's not always easy, I know. I personally experienced the bullying of my child and how I got involved, etc. It was not a pleasant experience... you can check my blog posting out:

http://deaftranquillife.typepad.com/blog/2010/10/bullying-experience-from-parent-pov.html

Mike said...

Good vlog. I agree that diversity should be celebrated. I've seen too many examples of Deaf people snubbing their noses at d/Deaf people for their opinions on CI. It's even worse and more hypocritical of how some Deaf people ostracize Deaf people for their decisions to implant their children and then treat them like traitors or pariahs. They become walking hypocrites with two faces I'd rather not want to be around with. The real traitors are those who continue to hurt their own Deaf community by shooting themselves in the foot with a bunch of non sequitur nonsense. It makes them look like a bunch of whiners who have lost all control of their bowel movements. A disgusting vision, eh?

Ann said...

You're right on the mark. Tolerance has to start somewhere and it starts in childhood with the right guidance from a parent.

I like your statement about how God created diversity in the first place and that it should be celebrated, not put down and ostracized. A concept that many ppl have lost sight of and are poorer for it.

Excellent blog!

Ann_C

Anonymous said...

Barry Sewell has no problem bullying a kid or two on DeafRead and DeafRead allows it. We need to push DeafRead to delete posts or posts with comments that bully kids. That is why many of us left DeafRead. Dianarez is right that it is wild out there, but DeafRead can make it more safe for the Deaf Community. DeafRead chose to be like the rest of the world. It is pathethic.

K.L. said...

I'll leave that last comment as an example of what not to do, but please drop the name calling here. The place to call people out on their words is where they say them. Barry Sewell has not said anything negative on this blog, and if he did, I would address his comment directly, or delete it as appropriate.

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