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Fri Mar 25, 2016, 11:32 AM

 

Bullying For Goodness [View all]

I have learned a lot about bullying in the last few years and some thanks to DU. My below text is my attempt to put some of what I think I've learned down in writing. I would greatly appreciate comments as I may be way off. I am posting this here because I view this Group as the Progressive Group were we can post progressive ideas and have discussions w/o the disruptions.

Bullying For Goodness

Bullying can be defined as the abuse of an imbalance of power.

We run into bullies everywhere in our everyday lives. Our first experience was probably at school as children often vying for dominance. It seems natural and may be human nature. Maybe those tribes that had an authoritarian social structure survived and those that didn't, didn't.

Our schools don't handle bullying well as we've seen time and again where the victim is often punished in lieu of the bully. Why is this? I think that we've evolved to live in a bully run culture. It isn't just our schools but most of our institutions don't handle it well either. We've all experienced case of coaches, bosses, family, friends, that abuse others verbally, emotionally and in some cases physically.

Let's step back a little because I don't think we can have a discussion of bullying without including authoritarianism. I believe that bully-ism is part of authoritarianism.

Here's a definition of authoritarianism (from merriam-webster.com):
1. of, relating to, or favoring blind submission to authority.
2. 2. of, relating to, or favoring a concentration of power in a leader or an elite.

Does that sound familiar? Bob Altemeyer has written a great book, “The Authoritarians” (free on the internet). He provides a great insight into authoritarianism which is important to the discussion of bullies.
More about authoritarianism http://www.democraticunderground.com/127710250

As mentioned above we are introduced to bullying (authoritarian domination) from an early age. Some parents bully their children. Some teachers bully as do scout leaders, coaches, and other authorities that children deal with at an early age. Many of these people don't even realize that they are bullying. Some do it because it's easier for a leader to dominate.
Bullying is deep seated within our culture. The USofA has been a bully nation since the beginning. The Native Americans were bullied, Mexico was bullied when we took the southwest from them. The Monroe Doctrine is bullying personified. Many of our presidents were bullies, like Woodrow Wilson, for example. And Theodore Roosevelt even used the term “Bully, bully”. Ok, sorry for that. Some look to make heroes out of bullies like Dirty Harry and Jack Bauer because they rationalize that they are bullying on the side of goodness. Vigilantism is bully for goodness. And we've seen that right here in River City.

The Stand Your Ground laws normalized bullying for goodness. All one has to do is decide they represent goodness and they get a free hand.
The Zimmerman case is a great example. He was protecting the neighborhood from perceived badness. He got away with murder because he was perceived as on the side of goodness.
Bullying is common on message boards. People form groups that make themselves feel safer. If they think another poster is on the wrong side of goodness (maybe doesn't agree with their worldview) they will ridicule and hound (bully) until they get a response that they can point at as challenging goodness (sexism or racism). This gives them the justification they need to do whatever is necessary to get the poster banned. Bullying is ok if done for the sake of goodness.
“Research indicates that adults who bully have personalities that are authoritarian, combined with a strong need to control or dominate.” (Wikipedia)
Some bullies are arrogant and domineering while others will use bullying as a tool to boost self esteem by siding with the dominate bully.
Subordinate bullies may not be brave enough to aggressively bully but will support the dominate bully by ridiculing the victim and egging the dominate bully on. In this we can clearly see mob mentality. The individual bully is emboldened by the pack.

Some observations about bullies.

I have seen this first hand. A strong dominate bully will acquiesce to a perceived stronger bully. And the weaker bullies will become dominate bullies if they find a weak enough victim.

In the bully mindset, if one is bullied they rationalize the need to seek a bigger bully for help with revenge. For example, if a child is bullied they may go to their older, bigger sibling to fight for them. This cycle can continue and escalate out of control on a large scale as we've seen in the middle east. Who is getting even with who?

When a dominate bully is confronted, they are quick to play the victim card. They are, after all, really cowards and only bully those that are weaker.

Unless physical danger is involved, stand up to bullies but never sink to their level. Don't justify fighting them on their level. Keep strong to your principles. “Never wrestle a bully in the mud. You will only get dirty and they love it.”

This is intended to evoke a discussion about what I see as a significant problem.

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