Bullying and Racism in America

Posted by forgive4health@gmail.com on December 17, 2019 at 8:30 PM

Bullying and Racism

Bullying, whether on-ground or online, has continued to be very pervasive across America. In 2016, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that one in five students report being bullied at school. In addition, 33% of students who reported being bullied at school indicated that they were bullied at least once or twice each month. Of those students who reported being bullied, 13% were made fun of, called names, or insulted; 12% were the subject of rumors; 5% were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; and 5% were excluded from activities on purpose. A slightly higher portion of female than of male students report being bullied at school (23% vs. 19%). In contrast, a higher percentage of male than of female students report being physically bullied (6% vs. 4%) and threatened with harm (5% vs. 3%). The reasons for being bullied, reported most often by students, include physical appearance, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation.

Bullying can have a significant impact on children, and according to the Centers for Disease and Control (2017), students who experience bullying are at increased risk for poor school adjustment, sleep difficulties, anxiety, and depression. Students who experience bullying are twice as likely as non-bullied peers to experience negative health effects such as headaches and stomachaches. Additionally, youth who self-blame and conclude they deserved to be bullied are more likely to face negative outcomes, such as depression, prolonged victimization, and maladjustment. So, bullying can have long –term effects on children and must be stopped.

Most of these data that I just provided were collected from children between 12 to 18 years of age, but it begs the question what might be happening to children that are below the age of 12. I am not sure who might be collecting these data, but a recent incident with my grandsons prompted this question for me. On a recent Friday evening trip to visit a cousin in Boca Raton, my grandsons, one seven years of age and the other 4 were outside playing with their 6 year old cousin when these bigger boys, 12 and 14, started picking on them. After bullying them for a while, the bullies then started calling the “N” word. No one know what happened next, but the bullies found themselves being beaten by the kids they were bullying.

Later that evening, as luck would have it, the parents of the bullies came knocking on the door of my relative. These parents came looking for the “big boys” who were in an altercation with their sons. Of course, no “big boys” were to be found anywhere and when the seven year old shared what happened, the parents reported being shocked to hear that their kids were bullies and even more horrified to hear about the words that were used during the bullying incident. Of course, they were apologetic, but my son and his wife are still working to counsel and support my grandsons as they process what actually happened to them on their visit to their cousin. As a part of this they have discussed how to forgive these bullies and to stand up for themselves if something like this ever happens again.

Unfortunately, children who are bullies often grow up to become adult bullies, wreaking havoc on those who are defenseless at work or in relationships. So, the quicker on-ground or cyber bullying is nipped in the bud, the better for the bully and for his/her victim. As a child who was bullied, I internalized the names and had very low self-esteem, so can only imagine what ramifications bullying might have on my grandsons and other very young children that are bullied. As we learn to forgive those who have bullied us, we must also work to end bullying in all its forms and remind bullies that they need to reach out for help since their bullying is coming from a place of hurt and need.

What are you seeing in your community as it relates to bullying?  Please let me know by sharing your story.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the  FFH Team


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