Today is Pink Shirt Day, the annual Anti-Bullying event to raise awareness to the ongoing issue of bullying in our schools. It’s a noble cause that I support. Anything that helps those who are harmed harassed,and humiliated is a good thing.
But… how can we really expect our kids to change their behaviour when adults aren’t changing their own? We ” grownups” are among the worst perpetrators of intimidation and bullying. We see it everywhere. In politics, name calling and just plain in-your-face rudeness is the norm. If you disagree on issues or challenge the status quo, be prepared to be snubbed. It’s grade nine all over again.
The entertainment industry thrives on bullying as a spectator sport. Think of all the reality shows where bitching and putdowns aren’t just tolerated, they’re encouraged. We the viewers salivate and beg for more. We are a society that loves the one-liner gotchas. Just last weekend an Academy Award was bestowed upon actor JK Simmons for his portrayal of a brutal and malicious music teacher in the movie Whiplash. Don’t get me wrong-it was an excellent performance, but it shows that we still love to see the big, bad bullies on our screens.
So why should we be surprised that children are mean to one another, in person and on social media? We have made bullying in all its permutations “normal”. Until we, the ones who should know better take a look in the mirror and become kinder and more accepting of others who have opinions and beliefs that are not our own, all the pink shirts in the world aren’t going to change one single thing.