A pair of wings so they can flutter off into the sunset while avoiding their tormenters? A pair of machetes so they can so they can slice off a few heads? Ohhhh right. They should grow a pair of Magical Testicles, take it like a man, snitches get stitches. Excuse me while I vomit.
This stunningly dim-witted piece of advice came from former Porterville, CA mayor Cameron Hamilton after a proposition was made at a city council meeting to implement Safe Zones, places where children can go in local schools when they’re being bullied.
Hamilton said “I’m against bullying, but I’m getting damn tired of it being used as a mantra for everything, and the ills of the world. All most people just have to grow a pair, and stick up for them damn selves.” (sic)
Apparently this genius has a long history of hateful dictatorship. Last year when the council voted to declare June LGBT Pride Month in their city, Hamilton immediately did everything in his power to make sure the proclamation was rescinded. It seems that part of his vehement rejection of the anti-bullying measure was based on his mistaken belief that these Safe Zones were tied with other similarly named programs around the US that give safe haven to LGBT children and teens.
I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth but that surely does sound like “Bullying is wrong! Except if it’s them fags. Those ones deserve to get the crap kicked out of them anyway.”
If only this was a rare example, but both the news and our own real life experiences are filled with countless instances of the same attitudes. Last month Zeman Elementary in Lincoln, NE sent home flyers advising students that they shouldn’t tell on bullies, because the number one reason “bullies hate their victims is because the victims tell on them.” Further, “Telling makes the bully want to retaliate. Tell an adult only when a real injury or crime (theft of something valuable) has occurred. Would we keep our friends if we tattled on them?”
Because bullies are secretly your friends! That whole thing where they gossip, mock, shun, laugh at, isolate and otherwise emotionally break down their victims? Those aren’t real injuries. That’s just your pwecious wittle feewings getting hurt. Once again, if you’d just man the hell up and grow a pair, everything would be fine. I’m not clear on whether girls who get bullied should also grow these Magical Testicles. Perhaps in this worldview, girls don’t get bullied, it only happens to those whiny little queer boys. “What about lesbi…?” Shh. Everyone knows there’s no such thing, girls just pretend to like other girls in order to please the owners of Magical Testicles. Lesbian is just a word for a girl who has never had a real man!
I’ve had similar issues with our local schools here in Ohio. While their public policy is all rainbows and smiles and hand-holding, strict anti-bullying blather, the reality is far different. Children are taught to trust teachers and other school authorities, yet when the kids come to an adult with a bullying issue they are almost invariably told to stop tattling. Often the adults turn out to be worse bullies than the child’s peers, drunk on their tiny bit of bureaucratic power. And while bullies are almost never punished or counseled, if a child who is being tormented dares to stand up for his or herself, your head will spin at the speed with which they are expelled.
So after years of feeling helpless, trapped, ostracized and alone, when another child finally snaps and goes on a shooting spree- or merely hangs himself in his own back yard- we can stand around pretending to be shocked, just shocked. But truly, how many of us can claim to be so blind that this phenomenon is shocking to us? When you were a child, were you the mean girl? The prey? The scurrying in between trying never to get involved? If you are a parent, which is your child now? What are you doing to instill a balance of empathy and strength- to teach that empathy is one of the greatest strengths- and end this sick cycle of abuse?