In recent months, bullying has made top news. I’m glad for only one reason: Finally, there is a chance for others to see just how much the bully hurts. Many times, we focus on the abuse of the person being bullied without ever focusing on the abuse of one who causes such abuse.
When we do focus on the bully, we do so negatively.
Bullying is a symptom of something deeper than wanting to hurt or control someone. Since my school days ended more than 26 years ago, I have encountered some people I would have called “homies.” I didn’t fight them; I fought for or with them. Yet, to them I was a bully.
I see where I bullied them in many ways: Making them tie my shoes, I chose their friends, decided what we would play on the playground, or even if we would play; this was just in elementary. As the years went by, I formed a gang in junior high, and we terrorized many in school. Friends and family warned me that my behavior would get me beat up at Douglass High School.
My mom often told me my behavior would follow me, and it did. When I got to Douglass, none of the upper classmen wanted to initiate me. No one knew I had already started making a change. I had one fight in high school.
When I was a child, dark skin wasn’t popular; I received all the “black” jokes, mainly from persons older than me; one of those persons was my mother. I did many positive things ” made good grades, I was in drama, talent shows and some sports. However, the only time my mom noticed me was when I behaved negatively. In the black community, whippings with extension cords, water hoses, tree limbs and verbal abuse were acceptable forms of discipline; so it was for me. When I didn’t understand commands, I asked “why?” the answer always came back, “Because I said so!” And yet I was continuously beaten for things I had to learn on my own.
Oftentimes, we think children are born having full knowledge; we fail to teach them many things to aid in survival, their purpose in life and the many functions of their bodies. When we spank our children, we are telling them, “When you are angry, hit.” If a person continues to do wrong even after suffering the consequences, they have no knowledge of a better choice.
I would hope society sees the need for counseling the bully instead of seeing him/her as a bad seed. In many cases, the bully just needs love, too.