I feel bound to share my views on the subject of bullying. I sense a directed focus on queries like – What is bullying? What are the causes of bullying and how can we prevent it? With the alarming rate at which bullied children’s (and adults) cry for help is never heard until after they’ve committed suicide, there is no question that we as a society need to take a closer look at how we access this experience.
The reason why I went into writing was mere to share my views. I observed the world and pondered on the psychological distinctions in numerous cultures and saw how misleading our beliefs are from the reality of actual experience. At first, I thought music would be the perfect medium to convey this experience. Then I realized that using music as an avenue to carry specific expertise is probably not as useful as writing it down. But since my goal is to bring the truth to everyone then whether it’s through music, poetry, literary writing or philanthropy as long as I say it out I will make a difference.
I observed the world and pondered on the psychological distinctions in numerous cultures and saw how misleading our beliefs are from the reality of actual experience.”
What is bullying?
The 1913 edition of Webster dictionary defines bullying as “the act of intimidating a weaker person to make them do something.” This dictionary also states that bullying is – “noisily domineering; tending to rowboat others.” The much recent edition, the Merriam Webster’s Student Thesaurus describes a bully as – “a person who teases, threatens or hurts smaller or weaker persons.” This dictionary also says a bully is – “a violent, brutal person who is often a member of an organized gang.” If you look closely you will notice the bully is described as someone with strength and the bullied is defined as a weak person.
Keep the word ‘strength’ in the back of your mind and then ask yourself what really influences us to consider one stronger than the other?”
The acclaimed bible of dictionaries is the Oxford dictionary. In it, the word bully is defined as – “a person coercing others by fear – persecute or suppress by force or threats.” The Oxford dictionary goes on to state that a bully is – “a person who uses strength or influence to harm or intimidate those who are weaker:” Keep the word ‘strength’ in the back of your mind and then ask yourself what really influences us to consider one stronger than the other? More definitions of the word ‘bully’ or ‘bullying’ can be found in the free online dictionary which states that a bully is – “a thug, a pimp or a person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people.”
As someone who was bullied, I will not say a bully is stronger than the bullied. I see a bully as an unforgiving oppressor with a slight edge and a perfect scenario where he or she is entirely at an advantage. Without that edge, the bully could be easily submitted by the bullied. The slave can be stronger than the master, but if the master is at the advantage where social settings have weights and measures in his or her favor, then the slave is powerless. I see the bullied as an unfortunate individual whose ill fate has landed him or her in a snake pit of like-minded bullies. You’re outnumbered, and your views are unpopular.
And for this reason, you will notice that bullying is the main ingredient in the natural instinct or the central thought process of everyone. It is in our psyche just as much as it is our will to survive. It is who we are, the essence of the balance of respect and disrespect vs. normal and abnormal. It is the natural order of being at the top of the food chain feeding from the bottom of the food chain. To survive another must submit so that their carcass is fed upon. This is how we are. If you take your focus away from schoolyards, playgrounds, social networking sites and internet chat rooms and then zoom in on areas like the workplace, entertainment, government and religious settings or look at animals on land and at sea, you will see that on a larger scale nature thrives off bullying.
Without that edge the bully could be easily submitted by the bullied.”
The good news is humans have a will to survive. It is that will that must be harnessed. The abilities to adopt, combat, retaliate or flee. Bullying is a sequestered psychological experience. The bullied seldom admits incapacity. To be bullied the mind must be dominated. This can be done by exploiting one’s need for social acceptance. The bullied is trapped outside the norm. Name calling, public humiliation and teasing can cause the bullied to feel isolated when the bully successfully makes the bullied an outcast. No unique program can save anyone from this. This situation is a critical battle where the bullied cannot merely tap out. Tapping out creates an opening for more abuse.
Here, what comes to play it is your own mind will to survive. The bullied must have a resilient mindset believing intensely in who they are and tuning out the noises. Bullying is based on one person who hurts the other person pride using social humiliation. The bully is usually in an advantageous position. The bully may be better-off than the bullied, well-known than the bullied, accepted by peers who are willing to choose and follow the bully. The bully may have access to privileges that the bullied can only dream of having.
The bullied must absorb psychological abuse from a disadvantageous position. But the Bullied must also rely on his or her humanity and be happy to live alone to look ahead. Earlier I mentioned being bullied – here are some of my experiences. I was beaten continuously as a child and then told it was for my own good. Growing up in West Africa it was very reasonable that children be defeated by one or both of their parents or guardians. I lived with both parents and guardians who beat me.
I was beaten so often I refused to cry so the person beating me will not have the satisfaction.”
As a transfer student to a new school, I was often teased for being poor. I could never afford all my textbooks, always needed a pen or a pencil and never ever had my own backpack or geometry set. I carried my books in my hand, didn’t get breakfast or lunch and had to walk at least 5 miles to school where if I was late I was beaten by a teacher or the principle. I was knocked so often I refused to cry so the person hitting me will not have the satisfaction. This is where I developed a tolerance for pain. In new neighborhoods where I moved to escape those sufferings, my new peers called me names. Family members were verbally abusive.
I had poor eyesight and depended on prescription glasses to see. That led to daily teasing. To make matters worse, I had the cheapest pair of glasses that broke, so I used wires from electrical cords to patch them. This was while I was separated from my parents due to the war. In some ways, it made me angry but thank goodness for comedy. For me, there was nothing Redd Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Richard Prior or Martin Lawrence could not heal. Some call it abuse, but I call it bullying. Sometimes the bullied becomes a bully. This is why I have a strong opinion on the subject.
I didn’t kill myself. I hoped. I fantasized on the day when it would be all over, and I would never have to live like that anymore… And it got better; I don’t live like that anymore! I didn’t hang myself, I didn’t drink poison, I did not drown myself or jump off a bridge because I believed in something. I had the thought to end it all but why? Why give the satisfaction of my demise? My rude behavior came from not knowing what to do because I was always criticized. My rough appearance came from not having food and being too poor to afford anything. I tried my best to make things work and be accepted, but no one cared.
As I said in the beginning, it is not strength but rather it is opportunity. It is a position of advantage…”
Then I realized the ticket. I used the teasers as a mirror to work on what they said was wrong. When it got violent, I fought relentlessly until they knew never to attack me again. I became fearless and used my alone time, the times when no one wanted to hang with me or visit me or be associated with me, while I was being avoided or ignored I used that time to develop skills in math, reading and speaking without an accent. This is because I wanted to be ready when my chance came. I practiced music and poetry, educated myself and sought ways of applying it. Soon, a group of friends emerged. I found love. I connected with women and went out on dates where we laughed, and I remained observant and kept learning. I even learned to make friends in other parts of the city.
Our society evolved from among many descriptions; this quintessence of a God vs. man, slave vs. master, boss vs. employee, affluent vs. peasant, big vs. small, man vs. machine social setting. The notion of normal and abnormal is the defining factor balancing the merits of reward and punishment. The merciful and the cruel both can dispense their values on others. As I said in the beginning, it is not strength, but instead, it is an opportunity.
It is a position of advantage… As humans become civilized, we pull further away from the notion of our masculine God with harsh rules, yet we have not mastered the ramifications of cause and effect. As we dilute the old religious ideas that ingrained these strong vs. weak mentalities into our psyche, we realize that the natural order of living existence cannot be altered entirely. The feminine remains physically and emotionally feebler, if not as much for humans but much so for every other living thing.
…while I was being avoided or ignored I used that time to develop skills in math, reading and speaking without an accent.”
Moreover, I believe that fundamentally bullying is caused by the natural order of things and old notions of normal vs. abnormal settings wherein weights and measures are distributed on the merit of reward and punishment. Once that psychological dynamic is established whoever is in an advantageous position takes charge and who they determine how they treat others.
This means to avoid being bullied you must attain an advantageous position – financially, physically, spiritually or emotionally. In essence, bullying stems from the balance of inferiority. But what is right for one person can be totally wrong for another. The defining factor on who will be forced to endure the other’s mischievous will is not weakness but misfortune.
Bullying establishes one will over another based on the confidence that opportunism justified.”
But with a will to survive one can escape the misfortune. Whoever is of the material, the social and economic disadvantage can change that by first psychologically accommodating their own humanity. As societies evolved from one level of civilization to another, new moral values determine the sands of time and once one group thinks their way is better than, natural instincts lead them to annihilate. Hence a group that believes homosexuality is terrible then pounces or vice versa. A group that believes women should not be promiscuous attacks and vice versa.
In all cruxes bullying is racism, sexism, violent discrimination, child abuse, the feeling of superiority over others, it is pride; be it the pride of the bully who must dominate or the bullied who must escape the domination. Bullying establishes one will over another based on the confidence that opportunism justified. This is highly psychological. Therefore it is imperative to comprehend that the fate of the bullied depends on what they did and where. Their future depends on who they know they are. If you do you in the wrong space of mind bullies will be summoned. It depends if that social setting sees your act as the norm.*