A week or so ago, I had planned to write a review of some of the anti-bullying programs available in Canada and the United States. In fact I was so sold on some of the better programs, I set up an anti-bullying page on my header bar. However, the more I researched the topic, the more frustrated I became because rather than reduce bullying and teen suicide, it seemed to me that both were actually on the rise.
The majority in Canada believe in a free press and free speech. The majority also seem to believe that all religions and cultures are equal. For example, we have people coming to Canada and the U.S. with beliefs that are the opposite of a free society, yet we tolerate those beliefs in the name of being progressive when in fact they are regressive.
For instance, we make only slight noises against female genital maiming, women having to cover their faces in a free and equal society, or females being killed by their fathers and brothers due to an outdated view of the role of women in our society. Yet, I have yet to see or hear of feminists protesting on behalf of those oppressed minority women — which is as shameful as the actions committed against them. Worse, some of our governments abdicate their responsibilities for equality when young Muslim girls who are menstruating are forceed to sit at the very back of a public school cafeteria during Friday prayers — being publicly humiliated as unclean.
Why do we tolerate or condone such forms of bullying? For some, it is obviously some sort of misguided political correctness!
Then, a week ago, shortly after Jamie Hubley’s funeral in Ottawa, some of Canada’s Conservative MPs put together a video on the “It gets better” theme telling young people who are LGBT that life gets better. Yet, how do some so-called professional journalists, comedians and academics respond to that good will message? They hint that the Conservative government has somehow made life more difficult for the LGBT community — which simply is not backed up with reality — and call them insensitive and hypocrites! Yet, I can think of nothing the various Conservative governments (2006, 2008 and 2011) have done to cause that nasty reaction.
Well, hello? That kind of bitching, name calling and intolerance are simply examples of bullying. I mean, that is what bullying looks and sounds like. One particular group in society cannot measure up to another group no matter what they say or do.
Then, there are the live radio and TV talk shows where people of differing political views scream at each other. Talk about intolerance. I could name a few of those shows but readers will know which ones I am referring to. And, do the hosts try to stop the nastiness? No, they don’t because they think it gets them more listeners or viewers — and perhaps it does. Now, doesn’t that say something about our society. The more verbally or physically violent the shows get (e.g., the fighting in a hockey game), the more viewers they get.
Of course, let’s not forget regular TV news. They show death and destruction nowadays as though it were a street party.
The result? How can anyone think children and youth are immune to all the nastiness and violence going on around them? They hear it in the home. They watch it on TV and in their video games. They hear it from politicians. They hear in on the school yard and on the way home. And, they read it on social media.
So, if we want to stop children and young people from bullying each other, we had better stop the bullying in the rest of society. Otherwise, no matter what anti-bullying programs are put in place in schools, bullying is simply going to get worse if all children and youth see and hear around them is violence and intolerance towards anyone who is, in any way, different from themselves.