This week has been an incredibly emotional one for many people across the US, and around the world. The immigration ban has brought to light some of the most racist and bigoted opinions that many Americans hold.
I have a lot to say about why it’s unfair, immoral, and racist to accuse all Muslims of being terrorists, and why I believe Christians don’t have too much of a leg to stand on themselves, but that’s a conversation for another day. I want to speak to conservatives and liberals alike, as Americans, as parents, as citizens who are concerned about violence and the safety of our children going forward.
I wanted to research some of the deadliest attacks in America over the past century, from bombings to mass shootings to school massacres, and see if there was a common link to, maybe not explain fully, but shed some light on why these atrocities occurred. Was it the video games they played? The religion they were brought up to believe in? Were they into devil worship or cults that glorified killing?
As children, in almost all of the cases I researched ,the perpetrators were victims of bullying, either at the hands of fellow classmates, or by siblings or parents in the form of abuse.
In one year, suicide was the cause of death for 6078 15-24 year olds. In one study, 17% of students reported being victims of cyber bullying, 41% of physical bullying, and 15% experienced different kinds of bullying. These include having rumors spread about them, being threatened with bodily harm, being pushed or shoved, spit on, having their belongings destroyed or stolen and being excluded from groups on purpose.
But guess what? I live in a world where Xanax’ed up baby boomers call me a “special snowflake” and make fun of my support for safe spaces where people can come and talk about how they’re feeling and what they’re going through. Where I literally saw a women comment on Facebook about how “her kids know they would get their asses kicked at home for wearing safety pins”, in response to the trend of wearing safety pins to indicate that you are someone who can be talked to without fear of harassment. Where girls are criticized for EVERYTHING from the time they are old enough to have a period, where their mothers tell them they’re dressing like sluts, or being prudes for not having a boyfriend, or being accused of being lesbians because they would rather focus on their studies or sports rather than boys. Where boys are told from the moment they are born that “big boys don’t cry”, that being gay is disgusting and unmanly, where society tells them to be different, but turns around and says they deserve the harassment they get for being too different.
Bullying is not “just a part of growing up”. Kids will not just be kids and they will not get over it when they are adults. It doesn’t toughen them up for real life. It leads to lowered self-esteem, depression, in many instances suicide, and an overall feeling of helplessness that will affect their adult lives forever.
Speaking directly to those parents who claim that Muslims are the biggest threat to their children’s safety: Wake the fuck up. The only reason that you can even remotely believe that is because by attacking Muslims, you don’t have to lift a finger. You can oppress the lives of men, women, and yes, other people’s CHILDREN who live in constant fear for their lives every single day because it’s easy. It’s easy to sit in your comfortable living room, watching your Netflix shows, popping antidepressants like candy and drinking the wine that keeps you numb to others’ pain. It’s easy to pretend like you’re not part of the problem if you can push that off onto someone else’s shoulders. It doesn’t matter if that someone else is a 5 year old Syrian child shot in the head in their war-torn homeland, because it’s not you pulling the trigger. Or is it?
You concern yourself more with Lularoe parties than with your own children’s mental well-being because that is easy. You work yourself to death under the guise of providing for your family, but the truth is that’s easier than hearing your 15 year old tell you he gets bullied at school for being gay. You can post recipes on Facebook day after day and read 50 Shades of Grey until 3 am, but you can’t take the time to ask your kid how things are really going at school, find out what their lives look like, tell them that they matter and that they’re unique and beautiful individuals no matter what anyone tells them. You can get together with your girlfriends and get drunk every other weekend but can’t take the time out of your precious life to organize an anti-bullying seminar for other parents, or call your kids’ principal and ask what their school is doing to prevent harassment and encourage a no tolerance policy. You notice every gray hair that pops up and every scratch that happens to your precious car, but I’ll bet you can’t open your eyes enough to see the signs that your daughter has been sneaking your sleeping pills because she can’t stand another day of girls calling her a whore.
I’m tired of seeing people who are supposed to be responsible adults act like they give a shit about their kids lives, but only when it doesn’t require them to lift a perfectly manicured finger. Hating people of other nationalities and religions is ok because it doesn’t require them to actually do any goddamned research of their own. God forbid they find out that most of the school shootings that have claimed innocent kids’ lives were acted out by white boys. That there is already a 2 year long (at least) hellishly in depth vetting process ALREADY for immigrants from these Muslim-dominant countries. They are perfectly happy living in their own world where ignorance is bliss and the only person that matters is themselves.
Just keep in mind that while you sit there and talk about how these “towel-heads” and “sand-n***ers” deserve to die where they are, that immigrants should speak English and don’t deserve the same rights that you do, that you are teaching your children that the bullying they receive from their classmates is ok, and justified.
So go ahead and remember to hit that yes button when Netflix asks you “Are you still watching?” Because your children sure as hell are.
https://www.edutopia.org/article/bullying-prevention-resources (a plethora of resources for educators and parents alike)