Editorial - You may be a bully and not even know itBullying isn’t just one big kid picking on a little kid. It takes on many forms, some of them ugly enough to rip families apart.
Bullying isn’t just one big kid picking on a little kid.
It takes on many forms, some of them ugly enough to rip families apart.
The Echo Press received a letter recently that demonstrates that troubling fact. To prevent any more bullying from going on, we’re protecting the identity of the writer. Here’s her story:
“What a sad time in life,” she wrote. “My children are young and I have spent all of their lives trying to teach them that a human is a human, no matter race, color, creed, sexuality, size, looks or religion, and every human has feelings. I have also tried to instill in my children that you may not love or even like everyone you meet, but you also have NO right to hurt them verbally or physically because you don’t care for them.
“I can’t help but wonder what the bully gets out of it. I think it’s the old adage, ‘make others look or feel inferior so that I look or feel superior.’
“Someone very close to me has made a choice in her life that many feel is wrong. She is a lesbian. Did it come as a shock to me? Sure. But as time has gone by, I have found myself very defensive about the off-handed comments I hear everywhere. Yes, call me a hypocrite. I used to make the awful, gut-wrenching comments myself. But after some self-examination and the need to have my friend in my life, I have opened my eyes. She is no different than before she told me her sexual preference. All the qualities she had before I knew her sexuality, she still possesses, everything that made her a great friend, aunt, niece, cousin, sister. What a great friend she is. After all the hurtful things I said, she stuck by me and apparently knew I would see the light one day.
“I was so excited to see her for the holidays only to find out that she won’t be coming. Why, you ask? Because of a couple family members who are too arrogant and ignorant to see past the choice she made in her life. To the best of my knowledge, she has never done them wrong, but they continue to verbally abuse and cut her down. For many years, the people she grew to trust and love unconditionally as she was taught, have decided to wage their own little bully session against her. Comments like, ‘disgrace to the family,’ ‘fag,’ ‘nothing but a biscuit.’ What happened to, ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?’ Even sadder, if you can’t turn to family because you are afraid of and not accepted by them, what is left?
“I feel we already have bully laws in place; we just need to look at them closer. They are no different than terrorist threats, or abuse, such as spousal or child. I would love to see half of my friend’s texts and e-mails sent to court for dissecting the difference between terroristic threats or bullying.
“If you respect your mother as you should, I ask one simple request, Think before you speak.”
The woman’s letter should cause everyone to pause, think inward and ask themselves a question: “Am I a bully?” An honest answer can be a first step in changing that destructive, selfish behavior.
Echo Press editorials are the position of the newspaper’s editorial board, which includes Jody Hanson, publisher; Al Edenloff, editor; and news reporter, Celeste Beam.