Friday, March 18, 2011

For Billy

Tonight I went to what I was told was “some sort of lecture about bullying”. What it was and what it was about were not made at all clear to me, but a friend of a friend was in it, so I went. I am so glad that I did because it turned out to be very cool, and about something very important to me. It wasn’t a lecture, it was a performance. There was an art auction, a dancer, singing, a comedian, it was great. It was Be: The Exhibit part of For Billy. The website describes it thusly, “BE: the exhibit is a one-night-only artistic installation aimed at combating homophobia and teenage bullying in the Chicagoland area through art and activism.” It was a powerful, moving night and I’m so glad I got the chance to go.
People, my two year olds bully. Why can’t we step in and teach them right now, that it’s not okay so that by the time they get to middle and high school, it’s not an issue? Why do we wait until it’s an engrained behavior? We can’t just tell ourselves that it’s okay because we were bullied in school and we turned out okay, so our kids will get through it too. Bullying has progressed so much even in the ten years since I was in high school. Now people live their lives anonymously on sites like Facebook. And anonymity breeds stupidity. Kids seem to think there are no consequences to what they say online, so kids who used to be able to come home and get away from bullies encounter it even more online. There is no refuge. No one should be singled out and teased, threatened, or bullied. We are the responsible adults now, and we need to teach our children that this is not okay. Whether it’s because of sexual orientation, weight, skill set, whatever, we need to be aware of this and we need to be working to stop it.

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