This is one of the more creative videos I’ve seen regarding the problem of bullying. You have to watch it to the end to really get it but I encourage you to watch it.
I grew up in a multicultural neighborhood on the East side of San Jose. My best friends growing up were a Mexican kid named Juan, a Jewish kids named Chris, and a blond Anglo kid named David. Before junior high our skin color, race, religion, and just about anything else made virtually no difference to us. We all played on the same soccer team and just had fun playing Star Trek or riding our bikes. The mix in my neighborhood was remarkably varied: about 1/3 white, 1/3 Mexican, and a third black and Asian. It was largely middle class, with a few rich kids and a few poor kids thrown in. Money didn’t really matter until about fifth grade when we started caring about the clothes we were wearing.
But the day I set foot on junior high, things changed. Four guys walked up to me, one of which I had known for a long time, and said, “Hey, aren’t you that kid who owes me money?” I stood dumbfounded by the comment and was immediately captivated by fear. I knew I didn’t owe them money, but they were now demanding that I give them $2.50 to pay back what I owed.
For about two weeks I couldn’t breathe. Between classes I was pretty safe, but during lunch everyone was expected to make their way out to the large black top, which made everyone fair game. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t focus on school. I learned to hate the going. Every day I lived in the fear that they were going to “get me”. I was a very small, skinny white kid and easy prey.
Transition into junior high was not going very well. They boys never got me. I ended up changing schools. There are some days now when I wish I hadn’t run like I did. My parents did get involved but it seemed like their solution, telling the principal, was fruitless. I was in fear, even when they weren’t around.
What caught my attention about the above video was seeing it through the eyes of my oppressor. It is a parody, but it reminds me what it means to embrace compassion for those who were trying to take advantage of me. Those boys likely never had someone speak love into their lives. They were attempting to validate themselves by taking advantage of other people, which made them feel stronger. But in the end, I doubt it ever worked. A life spent taking advantage of people probably didn’t lead anywhere productive. It’s hard to argue that it would produce life.
Have you ever been bullied? What was your experience?