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Further Thoughts About Bullying

Further Thoughts About Bullying

Hello, everyone.

Three weeks ago – April 28, to be exact – I posted a diary on the subject of bullying. I wish to revisit that subject.

In the April diary, I referenced a video on YouTube which contained a sound clip of a teacher calling a little autistic boy a vile, filthy name, a comment I made on the moronic, idiotic “Crooks & Liars” website, and a response to my comment. Here is that portion of the diary.

– – – – – – – – – –

On that moronic “Crooks & Liars” website, there was an item about the city of Philadelphia having to cut costs from its public school budget. There was a statement in that article that lit my fuse. I was still hurting for the poor little autistic boy who had been bullied by his teacher, and I simply could not remain silent. So I posted the following comment in their comment section:

– – – – – – – – – –

Here’s What Makes Me Sick

JuniusJunior — 4/27/12 3:29pm

“The elites’ plans are in place to close 40 schools, break the teacher and janitorial unions, and put the education of the City of Philadelphia’s children up for bid. It just makes me sick.”

Here’s what makes ME sick; There is a video up on YouTube, created and uploaded by the father of a small autistic boy. The child continually came home from school crying, and the dad couldn’t figure out why. So he put a wire on his little boy. He apparently did this for one day and the audio was astonishing. On one of the audio clips, the teacher called the little boy “a bastard.” The clip is on the video.

In his commentary on the video, the father said that he was extremely worried about the teachers’ union doing all that it could to protect the teacher’s job. They apparently got the job done, because there was some reference to the teacher and her aide being transferred to another class in a different school.

So one can logically conclude that protecting the job of that teacher was of far more importance to that union than was the irreparable harm done to that innocent little boy.

So if protecting unions is THAT important to you, then go for it. As for me, if given the choice of protecting a union and guaranteeing the physical, moral, and emotional well-being of children, my choice will always be on the side of the children.

– – – – – – – – – –

And in case there is any doubt: Yes, I am JuniusJunior.

There was one response to my post. I will quote the first and last paragraphs of it, with comments.

You obviously have no clue what goes on in education or a classroom.”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! I taught high school for 5 ½ years. I think that I have some kind of concept of what goes on in a classroom.

Of course, being a right-winger who seems to dislike teachers and unions, I can see where this one video confirmed your ignorant misinformed opinion about unions, public education, and teachers.”

First of all, I have explained how I come by my attitude towards teachers. Second, I’m a right-winger? He don’t know me very well, do he? Aside from Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson, the three presidents I have admired the most are FDR, LBJ, and Bill Clinton. So if I’m a right-winger because I don’t have a lot of use for unions, then these three guys are some kinds of right-wingers as well. Third, just because my mileage differs from his doesn’t mean that I am ignorant. I come to my positions via my personal experiences. Fourth, I came to my feelings about unions through my membership in the AFSCME when I worked for the State of Illinois back in the 80s. That “union” was more worthless than mammary glands on a boar hog.

One thing I found extremely interesting is the fact that the guy who wrote the response seemed to be FAR more upset over the fact that I do not like teachers and unions than he was about the teacher calling the autistic little boy “a bastard.” THAT statement and action was what made me go off in the first place.

– – – – – – – – – –

I would simply add that, as JuniusJunior, I was banned from “Crooks & Liars” for the third time. In contrast, I also am a part of a couple of conservative sites and comment there as I feel led, and I have not once been banned or threatened with being banned.

Bullying is a VERY serious matter. It happens to children all the time, from the autistic little boy mentioned above, to teen-agers in high school, and even students in college. It also happens to adults as well, as Carol and I both found out in the Nazarene Church out in California.

I am a member of a couple of groups that discuss autism and, in particular, Asperger’s Syndrome. I became interested in that topic after doing some reading about it on the Net and realizing that I carried most of the Asperger’s markers. Therefore I speak in the first person when I address the subjects of autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Bullying is a serious topic for us autistics, because it is our nature to be different. And as I have learned through my experiences and observations, the United States and American society do NOT like those of us who vary from the norm. Want examples? How about the attitudes towards blacks before the 1960s? Or the attitudes towards gays and lesbians throughout American history? Or the attitudes towards Hispanics today? Or the attitudes towards those with disabilities? Or Evangelical attitudes towards Mormons, Catholics, or other non-Evangelicals? Or the attitudes exhibited during the Salem Witch Trials? Or the – I could keep on going ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

In an Asperger’s Syndrome group that I read, a lady named Charli said the following:

You make a good point, Cindy. inherent in being on the autism spectrum, is the fact that most of us are loners, either by choice or by circumstance, and have difficulty in joining groups, even groups of other aspies. That is why we are so easily bullied. You know the old proverb. “United we stand, divided we fall.” Forty years ago, gay people were in a similar situation. it was considered shameful to be gay, very few were willing to be open about their sexual orientation,and many gays pretended to be straight just as many aspies pretend to be normal, in order to get along in society, be liked, hold onto their jobs, etc. When I was in school kids used to taunt other kids by calling them “fags” or some such slur and people use to whisper under their breath if some macho-looking movie star was rumored to like other men. It was only when gays learned to band together and stand up and proudly announce who they were that gays acquired a measure of power which has steadily grown so that today same-sex marriage is advocated by many politicians including Pres. Obama. That is almost a total reversal in a few decades of the way gays are viewed. Aspies are just starting to band together in self-advocacy groups. and hopefully we will now able to make our presence felt and our viewpoints will be respected, but it will take time.”

In another message, Charli says this:

Pan: I can tell you for free how victims of bullying and discrimination are exploited. First, of all, the bullies choose the most vulnerable target. that would be someone who differs from the accepted societal norm. Not differs too much, mind you, so that people fell sorry for them, like a severely disabled person, but differs just enough– especially in behavior– so that the bullies feel righteous in exploiting the victim. Behavioral differences–despite what modern science might say–are always tacitly assumed to be the individual’s fault. For example, if you act weird or autistic or are gay or have unpopular opinions, that is due to character flaws and you deserve to be bullied (in their minds!) Then the bullies isolate the victim. It is best if the victim has no one nearby who is like the victim or sympathetic to people like the victim. When the victim is not part of a group,he or she is hard pressed to defendant themselves. There really is strength in numbers. In addition, the bullies make the victim feel ashamed of who he or she is. They say to the victim that everyone knows , “It is all your own fault”and the bullies make sure the victims understands and internalizes that. If you are ashamed of yourself and feel that you yourself have caused the treatment that is meted out to you– “all my fault “–you are less likely to complain or fight back. People who work in domestic violence situations appreciate how important it is that the abusive husband make the abused wife feel that she is the real wrongdoer and “deserves” the abuse; therefore she is less likely to get up and leave or call in the police or other support systems. The same principle can be extended to people who are exploited in the general society, like aspies. “Sure, I deserve to be bullied and ostracized because I act funny, I talk funny, I don’t have the social graces the others do, I’m rude, I interrupt conversations, I don’t work well with the team, I have meltdowns at the least little thing, etc  Now very few of us would actually say this, but deep down inside we do believe it because we are alone and vulnerable. That is why it is essential that aspies learn to band together and give each other the strength to stand up to the bullies and the power to believe in themselves.”

Not just aspies, but everyone else who varies from the norm. This could even be applied to a person of intellect who is part of a group which is of inferior intellect. I have mentioned in the past how I have experienced bullying in the Evangelical church, to the effect that I was frequently threatened with an eternity in Hell because I dared to challenge the messages and “facts” that I was given, and also because of my tendency to ask the question “why?” I have also mentioned how Carol experienced bullying in the Nazarene Church in California because of an honest mistake that she made. What I have not mentioned is the fact that Carol and I were IQ twins – we both had IQs in the mid-120s – which played a part, in my opinion, in the experiences we had in that church.

During the winter, I wrote a memoir about our grandparents for my cousins so they would know more about some of their ancestors. Here is part of a paragraph that I wrote about our grandfather:

Another way that he showed his intellect was the manner in which he interacted with people. I never heard him raise his voice once that I can recall. Neither can I remember any time I ever heard anger in his voice. It has been my personal observation and experience that intelligent people never have to do those things to prove that they are right. They work with the concept of reason and logic….”

Intelligent people – and organizations – also don’t bully. Why in the world would they bully when they have the intellectual ability to make their points through the use of reason, logic, and common sense? Intelligent people – and organizations – are well aware that the “one size fits all” philosophy does not work in the real world. In an intelligent church with an intelligent pastoral staff, Carol’s mistake would have been handled something like “OK, Carol, you made an honest mistake. Next time, check the envelope a little closer to see if it is marked personal.”

So why does the Evangelical church embrace bullying? Paul Prather provides the answer in a blog he wrote three years ago. Here are the opening paragraphs.

– – – – – – – – – –

Evangelicals Support Torture

By Paul Prather

Posted 12:28 pmon May 13, 2009

In August 2008, I wrote a column for the Lexington Herald-Leader in which I asked why evangelical Christians, of all people, had remained silent as it became clear that during George W. Bush’s administration the U.S. government, for the first time in American history, had instituted an official program of torture against captured enemies.

Now I’m afraid I know the reason for that silence.

Last week, Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald wrote an opinion piececiting a report from the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Lifeon Americans’ attitudes on the torture of suspected terrorists:

Pew found that 49 percent of the nation believes torture is at least sometimes justifiable,” Pitts wrote. “Slice that number by religious affiliation, though, and things get interesting. It turns out the religiously unaffiliated are the least likely (40 percent) to support torture, but that the more you attend church, the more likely you are to condone it. Among racial/religious groups, white evangelical Protestants were far and away the most likely (62 percent) to support inflicting pain as a tool of interrogation.”

To repeat: The people least likely to condone torture? Those with no religious affiliation. The folks most likely to approve it? White evangelical Protestants.

So, my question finally is answered.

– – – – – – – – – –

For those interested in seeing the Pew results, here is the link:

http://www.pewforum.org/Politics-and-Elections/The-Religious-Dimensions-of-the-Torture-Debate.aspx

Following are the Pew numbers put in spreadsheet format:

 

Group Justification Often Sometimes Total Rarely Never No opinion Total
US Population

15

34

49

22

25

4

51

Christians
Evangelicals

18

44

62

17

16

5

38

Catholics

19

32

51

27

20

2

49

Mainline

15

31

46

22

31

1

54

Unaffiliated

15

25

40

29

26

5

60

Attend Church
Weekly

16

38

54

19

25

2

46

Monthly

18

33

51

23

23

3

49

Never

12

30

42

27

26

5

58

So given these numbers, one can logically make the following deduction:

The more you love that hairy “Lord Jesus,” the more you love bullying!

I just knew there was a reason I walked away from the hairy vagrant.

Since I did, to quote Herbert Buffum: I am happy as a bird and just as free!!

Have a great day.

Bill

 

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May 20, 2012 - Posted by | Miscellaneous, Religion

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