All Articles Tagged "bullies"
As told to Veronica Wells
Growing up, I hated going to my mom’s church. My parents were raised in two different denominations so sometimes we would go to my mom’s church and sometimes we would go to my dad’s. One of the main reasons I hated my mom’s church was because children’s church was required for children under a certain age.
It wasn’t the content of children’s church that I couldn’t stand, it was the people. Well…one person in particular.
I’ve changed her name because I’m a Christian and she might stumble across this.
But every Sunday in children’s church she would consistently find new ways to torment me. I don’t know if she was adamant about rejecting me because an adult told her my family was more non-denominational than hers or just because I was the new girl and she was a career bully. Either way, at seven-years-old, it only took me a few weeks to learn that she had no intention of welcoming me with open arms.
It all started off small. She’d go out of her way to tell me that I couldn’t sit next to her. She always said it under her breath so the teacher couldn’t hear her. If we had any type of artistic activity that corresponded with the lesson, she’d always need the exact supply I was using and come over and snatch it out of my hand. I was new to that church, eager to make friends and already intimidated by her. So I didn’t tell anyone. And as is usually the case with bullies, once she saw that I was a pushover, things only got worse. She’d push me on our way up the stairs, trip me when I got up to use the restroom. Pass notes about my clothes, hair or general appearance to the other students in the class or just pretend like I didn’t exist at all. Sometimes the teacher would notice her behavior and discipline her accordingly; but most of the time, she went unchecked.
It got to the point where the thought of going to my mother’s church made me physically ill. My stomach would be in knots. And as our car, rounded the corner into our church parking lot, I was sweating and swallowing hard so I wouldn’t vomit.
Though I never told my parents, they were experiencing some adult bullying in the lower sanctuary, with the the rest of the congregation. By the time I was turning ten, we left that particular church entirely and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Enough was enough.
My grandfather goes to my mother’s church, so we’d occasionally return for special events. I’d see her once or twice a year during middle and high school. But we both kept our distance, exchanging knowing, but unimpressed looks before ignoring each other.
So, fast forward to today. I’m four years out of college and guess who just found me on Instagram? You guessed it, good ole Roxanne!
Now, for those of you who know Instagram you realize you can
stalk view anybody’s page as long as it’s public, which mine is. But if you don’t slip up and accidentally like something, there is no way of telling who looked at what. Well, Roxanne didn’t just look. She literally liked 15 of my photos before adding me as a friend.
When I saw my phone blowing up with notifications, I did a double take when I saw her name and profile picture. Did this girl forget how she made church, a place that was supposed to be sacred and loving, into a living hell? Even when she stopped messing with me, we were never on speaking terms; yet, here she was acting like we were long-lost friends fortuitously reunited through social media.
The fact that she was sending me a friend request, acting like none of that ever happened, literally blew my mind.
But I can’t lie, I was interested to see how she turned out over the past decade or so.
Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. She looked…older. Not like she was much older than me, but like life hadn’t been all that kind to her. She looked worn and tired. She hadn’t gained much weight, but the few pounds she had put on, hung low like a kangaroo pouch. And judging from those tired memes that get shared, retweeted, regrammed and reposted by the unpleasantly single, she didn’t appear to be too pleased with the way her love life had turned out either.
I just shook my head.
For a while I contemplated blocking her…but then I figured why deny her the pleasure of seeing how wonderful my life turned out to be. I certainly won’t be following her back. But she’s more than welcome to look and like every last one of my photos.
It appears Katt Williams and Suge Knight are now besties. We’ve heard about Katt Williams bugging out almost every week for the last month or so and finally – finally – Suge Knight has stepped up to tell us what the real problem is.
In regards to all his recent problems, Suge says this isn’t Katt’s fault. He told TMZ, “People test him because he’s small and the best comedian of all time.”
Of. All. Time.
The two were together in Seattle when Katt was arrested for being in a bar fight. Knight says they were watching the Seattle Seahawks/Chicago Bears football game – rooting for Chicago – and some fans were offended, so to speak. Allegedly, they started the fight so of course, Katt had to defend himself against the angry Seahawks fans. Knight says people do this all the time – starting trouble with Katt – and he “just don’t take no sh!t.”
By the way, Suge also likened Katt’s problems to those of Mike Tyson and the late Richard Pryor while they were in their glory years saying, “That’s what happens when you’re the best in the business. Sometimes you just have rough times.”
Clearly, Suge had a lot to say and doesn’t appreciate the way Katt has been “portrayed” by the media. But if he’s a real friend, hopefully, he’s trying to get in Katt’s ear as well and tell him he doesn’t have to react to everyone that “bothers” him.
As Dharun Ravi publicly suffers from the impact of webcam bullying his former college roommate, having stood trial and sentenced to jail in an unprecedented case, kids all over the nation continue to experience the crippling effects of bullying. And it seems that the victims keep getting younger and younger. The latest high profile case of bullying has taken place in Harlem and it’s apparent that if this incident doesn’t promote the nation’s dialogue around how to handle peer harassment in schools, then nothing will.
On Tuesday night, the mother of Joel Morales found her 12-year-old son hanging from a shower rod in their Harlem apartment. He was said to have told a friend hours earlier that he was “tired of all this bullying.”
According to the New York Daily News:
Relatives said the tragedy unfolded after the fifth-grader had been teased for months by schoolyard bullies, prompting Babilonia to get him transferred from Public School 102 to Public School 57. Police said Joel did not leave a suicide note. “I know in my heart it was bullying that made him do it,” Joel’s sister, Richeliss Salazar, 23, told the Daily News.
Angelica Babilonia said even after Joel transferred to his new school, bullies at his old school continued to torment him in the neighborhood. “He said that a bunch of kids from his old school jumped him and chased him,” the aunt said. “He would ignore them, but there were too many to fight back.” Angelica Babilonia said that around December or January her nephew switched to PS 57 after four boys knocked on Joel’s door and threw sticks and a pipe at him when he opened it.
The attack prompted a police report and an intervention by the principal at PS 102, who met with Joel, Babilonia, the boys involved and their parents or guardians to try to stop the bullying, the relatives said. Joel was transferred shortly after the meeting and Babilonia took out an order of protection against the ringleader of the fifth graders picking on her son, relatives said. They said Babilonia even asked New York Housing Authority officials to move her and her son to another housing project, but her request was denied.
The final straw, however, came after a bully teased Morales about his dead father, according to relatives.
Incidents like these demonstrate just how critical it is for the nation to adopt strong policies against school bullying. Although parents and school officials were involved in resolving this matter, it’s apparent that the punishment for bullying is too weak to deter the rate of bullying across the nation.
Have you been involved in a case of school bullying? Were your schools’ or your child’s schools’ effective at resolving the matter?
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With all the reality television being served to us on platter, it’s no wonder that talk of bullies has become more and more common in the circles of adult women. They’re no longer just lurking on schoolyards, folks. Some bullies don’t grow up (mentality wise, but they do age), and in fact, you can find them not only on TV (hey Tami), but at your job, or even in your circle of friends (*gasp*). They might pick on you a little, or they might make it their mission to spend their every waking moment talking to you crazy and treating you like something they scraped off of their shoe. These individuals could even be you. If you were wondering what are a few things that make someone an adult bully, we’ve got a few examples for you.
- You’re irrational as hell: A bully truly wouldn’t be a bully if they didn’t run around making the least amount of sense possible. They might tell you, “Don’t talk about me behind my back!” but will run around and talk about you to someone else like you are dirt in the road. The concept of “treat people how you want to be treated” doesn’t apply to them because that’s no fun. They would rather make your workday or your life a living hell by acting as though whatever small thing you may have done (but real talk, you probably didn’t do anything at all…) warrants them trashing your name to anyone who will listen.
- Confrontation is your best friend: There’s no reasoning with a grown up bully. You can’t have a real conversation with this person without them yelling at the top of their lungs, pointing their finger in your face or acting like a fight will ensue. The reality of the situation though, is that in most cases, the bully’s bark is bigger than their bite. They just want to jump in your face and think you’ll go cowering in a corner so they can have a reason to treat you badly and “keep you in line.” Intimidation is what a bully thrives off of, so instead of talking to you about what their beef is, they’d rather exchange your name for the b-word and make everyone think they’re tough.
- Your victims are always people who won’t fight back: Remember how I just said, “Intimidation is what a bully thrives off of”? Well, it’s true. As long as they feel that you fear them, they will continue to come at your head when they really need to be putting themselves in check. However, the minute you step up to them and let them know there’s just so much you’re going to take from them (or lay hands on them–but I really don’t recommend that), then they leave you be. You have to stand up for yourself and let folks know they aren’t as big and bad as they would like to be to get them to back down.
- You’re MAD insecure (and sensitive): It really doesn’t take much to set a bully off. Leave them out of a conversation, don’t invite them to a party (because they’re crazy), or spend a lot of time with their friends and they’re ready to lash out. Bullies like to be the center of attention or be in the midst of everyone’s business. When they’re not, that’s when they start to get moody. They think everyone’s talking about them (even when no one is worried about them), and when they want what you have (a man, the materialistic goods you tote around, etc.), they tend to diss you for it. As tough as a bully tries to act, sometimes they have deep-seeded issues and emotional problems that cause them to act out. But that doesn’t make their poor treatment of others right, of course.
- You try to embarrass people in public: Whether this is the co-worker who tries to blast you about your work ethic in front of others, the boss who tries to yell at you in meetings in front of everyone, or the person who critiques your outfit in front of all of your friends, bullies like to make you into a spectacle. It’s already annoying that they do it in general, but there’s something very uncool about trying to play people in front of other people. It could be that they’re trying to make other people think less of you, or in reverse, maybe they think belittling someone for their own entertainment will make them look big and bad. Whatever their reasoning, it’s dead wrong. Karma is a bad Mamma Jamma, so if this bully is you, cut it out and grow up.
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When my sisters and I were young girls my mother would always tells us (among other things) that when a fight breaks out, don’t run toward it to watch it, run in the opposite direction. Her rationale was in case someone in the fight pulled out a weapon, or the crowd gets too hype and starts pushing, you could get hurt if you were trying to see what was going on. But like any bad-butt child, I would rebel and when the fists would fly on the playground, I would run my short little self on over to the melee to see it first hand. But after a while, after a couple of my family members were murdered by going to fights I realized that my mother did indeed know what she was talking about, and wasn’t so much of a wet blanket.
So, imagine my surprise when years later, I’m working at an afterschool program and one of the students tells me about a fight she had that day. Customary to school policy, she had to talk to her mother on the phone and during this phone call her mother told her to not fight the girl again… until the last day of school. Then bring soup cans in her bookbag and if the girl starts with her, to… “bust her upside her head.” Fear and alarm would be an understatement to describe my feelings (and a little bit of paranoia, honestly. How was I supposed to know that one of these kids didn’t have a soup can surprise for me at the end of the year?!). But as the children listened to the fourth grader retell her fight, more began to chime in with stories of advice that their parents given them.
I’m not going to lie, my father taught my sisters and I about the “element of surprise” when it came to fighting, but it was only supposed to be used as self-defense. Not as a way to possibly murder another child. But as reality television gets more prevalent you hear people saying how these “stars” are bad influences on children (which by the way, why are you letting your children watch reality television anyway?) and they should be more mindful of the viewing audience, but it seems like a large problem of it starts in the home.
In preparation for this article I googled the phrase “parents encouraging their kids to fight” and came up with over 62 million results. There were the normal You Tube videos of a father who encouraged his son while fighting another teenager to “punch his eyes out… slam his head on the ground” or a woman who was in the midst of high schoolers cheering her daughter on. Parents can be seen barking at their child to win the fight, and either enjoying the adrenaline rush of the fight, or sometimes even intervening when their child is fighting, so their child can get an upper hand on his/her opponent. The news articles seemed to come one after another of parents being arrested for openly praising their children for fighting, but the most disturbing article came from the UK’s Mail online website about a group of parents who had their little boys participating in child cage fighting matches. (REALLY?!) There are pictures of one little boy’s face that’s blurred out, but apparently the little boy was crying. The article described a video that was released that showed the adults cheering, clapping, and barking for the fight to continue while a medic came to see if he could continue the fight.
Being a relatively new mother, I can’t wrap my mind around setting my child up for failure in this manner. Leading her down a road of letting her know that it’s okay to be a trouble maker, or result to fisticuffs just because you’re frustrated at the other person. I’m not saying this to point fingers or judge anyone, but it hurts me when I see these women and men who don’t learn from their own mistakes, and keep teaching the same pointers to their children to perpetuate these personality flaws throughout generations.
Then you do watch reality television and you see mothers and fathers either encouraging their daughters to fight and start drama, or you see the parents engaging in the juvenile behavior themselves. Now, I’m not advocating being a punk, but I am trying to say to think before you act, and think about what you’re teaching your children. Because I personally know two mothers who could tell you that if they had the opportunity they would turn back time to convince their children to think before preparing to knuckle down.
Please know that your life is worth more than bragging rights, and so are your offsprings’! Follow Kendra Koger @kkoger
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If other inner-city school districts are anything like the one I witness several days out of the week, it’s understandable why many parents are opting out of the education system completely for an opportunity to educate their children a variety of curriculum in the safety of their own home. More students are in the hallways than in the classroom nowadays (and that’s if they even bother coming to school at all). Political power plays leave educators and supporting staff who are actually invested in students unmotivated, powerless and in the worst case, jobless. Confusion and competition at the top of the education chain leads to a chaotic learning environment where students often fall at the losing end.
In my own childhood I had the chance to be both a student of a catholic school for 10 years (grades Pre-K to eight) and a high school student at a small magnet school in Philadelphia whose curriculum focused on college preparation and world relations. I often take for granted the advantage that having a solid, well-rounded basic education gave me. As a parent, you’d like to believe that everyday you’re sending your child to a place where for seven to eight hours a day they’re gaining the skills necessary to be critical thinkers and competitive players in the real world. Unfortunately, with all of the stories of sexual assault and molestation, violence and bullying, I often wonder how much learning is actually being achieved. We all know that children thrive on routine and structure, so I’m also troubled by the idea that many children who are already coming from unstable family situations can no longer find security and safety in the “typical school day.”
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“Columbiana” actress Zoe Saldana covers the South African issue of Cosmopolitan this month. Judging from the advice she gives her niece on dealing with bullies, I can see why the Dominican beauty was so amped about being able to kick butt in her latest film.
“I’ve been trying to teach my niece to be verbal rather than physical and always to speak to an adult if another child is bothering her. But if you have tried every civilized angle to defend yourself, I’m saying bust someone’s kneecap if you have to. I’m okay with that.”
I love her.
What do you think of Zoe’s cover and her “bust a kneecap” advice? She’s tougher than she looks.
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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There is no denying, our public school system needs a massive overhaul. Many of our students struggle academically, but why? Much of what we see as a result academically, has ties to deeper more intrinsic issues. Parenting a public school child nowadays is tough. Many of us cringe at the thoughts of what our child(ren) may be getting exposed to behind the walls of the campus halls. We hope that the values we believe in are not tainted by the views of other parents by way of their children. In addition, we trust that our public school educators ensure the safety and serenity of our children that come from strong households.
However, what course of actions should we take when the schools that we entrust with the safety of our children drop the ball? I mean, severely drop the ball! I have had the unfortunate privilege to work with Masika Bermudez. You remember her. She is the mother of the 11 year-old boy (Jaheem Herrera) in Dekalb County Georgia that committed suicide after being bullied repeatedly at school. She went to the school 11 times to file complaints but she was dismissed and overlooked each time. Sadly, the 11th time would lead to her losing her 11 year-old. Her life has changed, the son’s life has ended, yet, the bullies live on.
Here we are two years later and very little has changed. Last week, I was faced with a bullying debacle of my own. My 12 year-old son was given in-school suspension for defending himself against a bully; a decision by the school system I grossly disagree with it. He complained to the teacher 3 times with no resolution from her.
The bully gained more confidence to assault my son as he saw there was no retribution from the teacher. My son eventually punched the boy in his face and bloodied his nose. My son is very small for his age, as was I. I am 36 and STILL small for my age. When I was growing up I faced boys much bigger than me who tried to bully me. Take note of the key word, “tried.”
Back then, as well as today, bullies repeatedly picked on those who were not willing to defend themselves. I was the youngest of three boys who had to quickly learn how to defend myself. At times my brothers helped teach me, at other times they pushed me around. It made me tough, and over the years, less appealing to bullies, despite my small stature.
I tip my hat to the school system and the teachers in it. They have a very tough job being in the trenches with our children on a daily basis. They are doing their best to reduce violence in schools but I think failing to recognize the victims makes matters worse. Good children are joining bullies because they feel unprotected by the school system. True, zero tolerance policies are in place, but understand that laws are only for those who will abide by them, especially if the punishment is the same for the aggressor and the victim.
I am sorry school teachers, but bad kids do not fear you. So what we see are bad kids pushing around good kids, good kids afraid of the bully “and” getting into trouble, bullies knowing this, good kids remaining human punching bags and suffering humiliation on and off campus. But should schools care about what one child encounters off campus? That’s the million-dollar question.
There’s no surprise we have cases such as Kelley Williams-Bolar, an Akron, Ohio mom who was jailed for tampering with school records in order to get her daughters in better school districts. There can be voucher programs, charter schools, and resource officers to alleviate the anxiety parents feel sending their children into, what we often feel are, war zones. This is why a focus on familial dynamics is outlined in my latest book.
At the end of the day, I do not believe violence is the way to solve disputes but remember being bullied is not a dispute; it is unsolicited aggression that usually contains little negotiable resolutions. I believe it is poor justice to have children trying to teach the “turn the other cheek” philosophy to other children.
They are not equipped to explain why they turned the other cheek. I know I am not alone. There are millions of parents who refuse to tell their children to become victims. However, schools seem to sometimes have a stronger influence on our children than some parents. We then witness our children change almost overnight. They become depressed, reclusive or angry. Parents must deal with this long after the school bell rings and long after report cards are issued. When it comes to my son, I teach him to diffuse, but when he’s unsuccessful, defend. He is their student for now but he will be my son forever.
Devin Robinson is a business and economics professor and author of Rebuilding in the Black Infrastructure: Making America a Colorless Nation and Blacks: From the Plantation to the Prison. Contact him at email@example.com.