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Lower 9th Ward: March 2006

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October 01, 2010


Why stop with gay kids? Bullying knows no bounds. Despite the corpulent flesh I now inhabit, I was a geeky, scrawny kid. I was lucky enough that I knew how to read before first grade because then sometimes the teachers let me spend my recesses in the library instead of the playground, where I seemed to inevitably end up in the stream that ran between it and the school. By seventh grade I managed to convince my parents to send me back to the Montessori school I'd gone to before grade school and I did a couple years of partially self-directed studies before I had to go back to high school. My folks scrimped to pay for the Catholic high school (even though we weren't) so I wouldn't have to go back with my grade school classmates but it was just a different set of bullies. And I couldn't change my looks or lack of athletic prowess or the fact that I wore glasses like Coke bottles any more than a gay kid could change his or her sexual orientation. I'm all for stopping bullying gay people but I'd hate to see all of that bullying energy shifted to the hapless geekboys and nerdgirls. Half the time you get called gay anyway.

Catholic bullies sure hate the gays, though. '78 was the year the citizens of Eugene repealed a gay rights ordinance passed by the city council and the Anita Bryant brigade came through the school in force. That was sure fun.

I've been reduced to tears a few times since yesterday thinking about Tyler Clementi. All that promise, all that future.......

I grew up on Air Force bases and we moved a lot. I moved to a new school during 7th grade (we always moved in the middle of the school term) and this kid latched on to me, a gay, horribly shy music geek. I hated the one class we had together, he just tormented me. One day, he threw something at me and it nearly broke my expensive glasses.

I flipped out. I pushed him up against a wall and started to strangle him. I can still, almost 40 years later, still see his face change from a smirk to "Oh shit, he's going to choke me to death". The teacher, understandably, completed freaked and had a couple of guys pull me off. If they hadn't, I would have killed him, no question about it. As long as I'm alive I'll never ever forget that feeling of cold, remorseless fury, of just wanting to blot that fuckers existence out.

I really hate my fellow humans sometimes and this is one of those times.

I'm with Darryl on the issue of bullying in general. Note the current level of acceptance of going after Muslims for being Muslim. That is something that is supported and promoted by the Bully station of Record. Fox.

When bullies grow up, do they stop bullying? Or do they become the Republican President of the United States? 50 percent of Americans think that's swell. "He might be a bully, but when I saw those planes fly into the towers I was glad a Republican was in charge."

30 percent of Americans love Bullies.
50 percent of American don't mind as long as they are on the side of the bully.

One of the problems with grade school, high school or college bullying is that the successful lionized bullies in American life. It's like a smoking parent who tells his kids not to smoke.
"'Do as I say, not as I do."

I have spent lots of time trying to figure out how bullying can be stopped. I haven't succeeded. That's because it is basically a problem about how to teach empathy to children. How do you do that?

Once a child gets into high school without any empathy, he isn't likely to suddenly find some in high school. And, for sure, once he is out of high school, if he still has no empathy for his fellow humans, he will never be worth two cents to the world.

But, how is empathy taught? I have a gut feeling it has to be taught by parents.

Hoppy. That is one method. The UK had a big program on bullying in the schools that supposedly works. There are things that the school can do, Like tell parents that it's not something to just ignore.

But I agree, empathy is part of it. Also people who have low self esteem who feel that running others down builds them up.

art school is gay friendly.

I'm sick to damned death of it. I remember a kid writing in my yearbook "You were the only one who never laughed at me. Thank you." It still makes me sad that I didn't stand up for him more often.

But then again, what the hell do we expect when the fucking Michigan Assistant Attorney General is harrassing and stalking a college kid and no one does anything about it and the Michigan AG just makes excuses?

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