Before I go any further, I would like you all to know that this is NOT a sponsored post. This is going to be a very raw post and one that takes a lot for me to get out.
Early last year, I mentioned being in grade school and being the only black girl in my class from about fifth grade on. It was torture. Total and complete torture. I was in a gifted program and got bussed to school each and every day. It would have been slightly less irritating if only the bullying I had to endure would have been on the bus, I think that I may have been a bit better. We had a bus attendant who took no prisoners, and she would have nipped ALL of that in the bud! There were days that we couldn’t even speak on the bus, because she would be tired of hearing our voices. Ah the memories.
However, that wasn’t the case. There were a group of very mean boys in my class. The ring leader was a very short Asian boy named Eugene. He was relentless. I’m not sure if he was the one that gave me the nickname of “Pink Ass Baboon,” but it stuck, for years. It wasn’t foreign to me to come into the room to a rousing call of ape sounds, or have pictures of apes drawn crudely taped to my desk in the morning. They made fun of me daily, and it so happened that sometimes, if a couple of the girls that were in our class happened to be mad at me on a particular day, they would use the moniker as well. I was pretty lonely during my time there. No best friend in the class, no sleepovers, no invitations to birthday parties. Nothing.
Thinking back on it makes me completely upset. Not so much because it made me into a horrible person, because I don’t think that I am – I’m sure that other people would beg to differ, but it’s my blog, and I’m sticking to my story. It’s because it caused me to go into retreat mode and over analyze who I was for so long. It wasn’t until I was in the eight grade and met my future husband – yeah, Mr. Houseful and I met in eighth grade, that I kind of felt okay. I mean, he genuinely liked me, and I was being ME. He actually liked me for ME. The quick wit, the slight sarcasm – that was probably a little bit sharper than it should have been for a 13-year-old, and the lisp. I had a HUGE lisp, and he didn’t make fun of me for having it. He didn’t call me a monkey, he didn’t make ape noises behind my back when I walked. He didn’t PRETEND to like me to copy my answers from homework, and then deny befriending me in public. He was cool.
My mom and dad offered to come up to the school to “handle” the boys, but all I saw was a mess waiting to happen. These kids didn’t care. They made fun of adults to their faces. They were considered highly intelligent, yet the lack of respect that they had for other human beings made them less than the scum of the earth to me. One of them I happened to have a crush on in 5th grade. He was nice to me in private, and never really said anything about me in general, but he would always laugh whenever jokes about me were made. It wasn’t until I would look him directly in his eyes that he would quickly avert his gaze and look kind of embarrassed for me. Recently that person and I reconnected on Facebook, and I must say, that he’s turned into a pretty decent person. Enough so that when he requested my friendship, he even included an apology for the way that he treated me in grade school. This was 16 years ago people! I was appreciative and clicked on “accept.”
I know that people change. I welcome it. However, I do think that bullies should know early on how their actions may cause others to retreat into a HUGE void and want to hurt themselves, or even worse, the bullies that torture them on a daily basis. I don’t condone violence, but I can say that I can totally understand a switch going off in the head of a young person that would make them want to see their bully have to pay for what they’ve put them through. We don’t want that. Which is why this post has come about.
There’s currently a documentary that will be premiering in limited release on March 30th called “BULLY” It is a heart wrenching look at five families that director Lee Hirsh follows at various points in bullying. Two of the families are speaking out for their children who committed suicide and three other families who have children who are actively being bullied at their schools during the time of filming.
It’s heart wrenching. And it hit so close to home for me, that I couldn’t hold back the tears. Especially for Alex. Alex is a young man who I promise you will completely love by the end of the movie. Especially when he gives his wisdom about girls about halfway through the movie.
If I haven’t convinced you, here’s a clip. And while it is a bit disturbing, it’s the harsh reality that so many children wake up and face each day. I suggest that you do watch it with your school aged child and open the lines of communication. Ask them if they are being bullied. Ask them if they are treating others in a way that a bully would. It may be hard to hear, but stopping it early is key to stop all of this in its tracks. Go ahead and click play…
Unfortunately, the MPAA has decided to give this documentary an R rating citing that the situations are too adult for children under 17 to view. Ummm, HELLO, ALL of the children in the movie are under 17 and had to endure this on a daily basis!!!
After you are done watching, if you feel as strongly as I do about this, please go and sign THIS PETITION to the MPAA to get this changed to a PG-13 rating. This should be mandatory viewing in schools, and with an R rating, it won’t be able to be screened.
And even if you don’t have children, you may have nieces or nephews, or cousins that could be going through the very same thing. Let’s take a stand for these children.