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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Let's Talk About Bullying Again (Part 3)

Fairly recently I came across this little piece on the internet about Disney's Beauty and the beast which is a childhood classic for many and one of their great animated hits from the old days.Though personally not a fan of the popular children's tale, it gave insight into the story in a way a great number of us who have seen it in our childhood would have not observed. Seeing and observing something from the mind of a child differs significantly from how we see, perceive, feel and react to things as an adult. This little piece online gave quite some food for thought about the deep messages hidden between the lines, how there is more to a simple children's tale which we had seen many many years before any hint of adulthood wisdom kicked in. That little piece talks about bullying and social discrimination in a manner that makes it an important highlight of the children's animated film.

The film highlights how damaging bullying can be and the consequences of bullying, not just that but also some of the other types of bullying that takes place, and how we as a collective lot do not reject bullying, instead of we go an extra mile and glorify bullying behavior. There is a character called Gaston in the film that everybody developed a disliking for as he was seen as a non friendly character, but what the film also suggests and this is from the above link itself, that the character demonstrates that bullies are rewarded and beloved by society as long as they possess certain characteristics, while nice people who don't are ostracized. Even the love story itself is about two individuals who find comfort in one another after society rejects them.

The character of the beast and his outbursts of anger are also an important backdrop of the film. His anger is not because he is a monster, but because of society's attitude towards him and their decision to socially ostracize him by convincing him time after time that he is indeed a monster not worthy of social acceptance. See this here itself is a very important lesson from this Disney animated film, there are very deep psychological consequences of society's behavior towards a certain individuals who by their own circles are deemed different from the lot, especially if it is different in the wrong kind of way. By reinforcing the belief that one is a monster or sub human or in any way in a relatively inferior human being, society particularly the active self serving pricks are pushing one towards the belief that they are indeed human or simply put not EQUALLY HUMAN.

The Concept and idea of being equally human is an interesting one, there has been much debate on this in academic circles and their publications, but stimulating and productive discourse on the topic rarely takes place among standard social settings. People in society usually display such treatment towards not only those that are different from a standardized lot but also those deemed relatively inferior, and the way we have seen such behavior depicted in popular culture, it initiates with the work of self serving trouble makers, who would benefit directly or indirectly from the mistreatment of another And like its highlighted in the Disney article, these trouble makers are usually very conveniently ignored as trouble makers and are seen as fairly right people and fairly rightful in their approach because of certain characteristics they all possess. No one even remotely entertains the idea these trouble makers maybe the one's'who are really different because the general rule of thumb is good folks do not try and build hatred for others. It is these very people that lead others on as well to follow them into a web of hatred, discrimination and demonize they the others.

Examples are widespread in Pakistan, it is usually one person or a small group of people that incites provokes and gathers a mob against minorities, against law enforcement agencies and functional government institutes. These include acts of violence and persecution towards religious minorities such as Qadiyani' and Christians in Punjab and Hindus in Sindh. It also extends to include the trouble makers from BSO Azad at Universities across Balochistan in their personal feud with the state.

But let's look at it from a more micro perspective leaving behind political or religious or any other controversial elements to this debate. Early basic, primary and secondary schooling or education are the basis for behavior that shapes people as they move into adulthood. It is in these years that such behaviors are ingrained, conditioned or taught with respect what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. Not everyone we went to school with has a standardized life map like a lot of us. Every child in school in the early years or as a teenager in the later years are a product of their environment, upbringing and their realities of life. Some of our fellow classmates are the only child, some come from broken families, some come with the baggage of trauma from abuse, some come from an over protective or overly ignored upbringing, some from very competitive and high expectation backgrounds, quite a few variables.

We all remember our schooling days of how there were always other children who were brutally picked on and they were the children picking on them, most of us were silent  restrained observers. In true essence we in our minds were actually condoning bullying behavior firstly by not only showing apathy and restrain from preventing a conflict (for whatever reason) and secondly by looking down upon the victim of bullying, harassment and discrimination as an inferior being, some one whose ill-treatment is justified. In a way we are reinforcing bullying by justifying it, we are reinforcing the belief that victims of abuse and mistreatment do not belong and they need to be rightfully put in their place. When was the last time, either of us dared to get up and question the bully or question the acts of bullying?

To Be Continued.....

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