Whilst perusing Twitter this morning, I found a link to this blog post about some of the backlash that Molly Wei is feeling after her involvement in the actions leading to the suicide of Tyler Clementi. Now, if you read the link, you'll see that the author, a gay woman, feels quite strongly about the situation. And who wouldn't? Tyler Clementi's suicide, and the other suicides of LGBTQ youths, is a staggering wake-up call.
As a society, we've got a long way to go. We're still divisive, no matter how enlightened we think we are after the 1960s. Kids are still cruel. KIDS. But they're learning this from bigoted parents and from societal cues that tell them this is okay. It's okay to make fun of the fat kid. It's okay to push other peoples' buttons online...because online they aren't real. Online you can block someone, delete them, ignore they exist. You can create your own little world with you at the center of a blogosphere.
Public humiliation has escalated as technology grows. Your pants didn't just rip in 3rd period French class. Now it's on Facebook. You didn't have a bad day at school...now, it's happening at home, too, every time you turn on your computer. High school and college are bad enough, finding yourself is tricky as it is. Now, you get to do it with constant criticism. Getting dumped feels like the end of the world when you're 15. Now, everyone knows about it? Losing your virginity is always a little freaky, now it's broadcast live on the web?
The world our kids live in right now is far more than I had to deal with at their age. I cannot imagine the pressure that is on an outcast kid right now. I was a band dork, the fat kid, a smart kid... I was always on the fringe and I was made fun of constantly because of my weight. But that was just people saying things in class. I had a safe place at home. I had support.
The true tragedy of Clementi's suicide and the others like him....? These kids--KIDS--felt like they had no other choice. They felt that they had no support, no safe place to turn. What the hell is wrong with us when we can't give each other a safe place?
And, that safe haven is open to the bullies, too.
Yes, you heard me. The above blog post? NOT HELPING!
Molly Wei feels attacked? Well, yeah, you just called her a murderer. I still live in the US where due process is a Constitutional right and until she is convicted of murder, she is not. She is an 18 year old kid who made a heinous mistake. She treated another human being like shit. (Happens every day and you're bitching about this one in particular?) She and all the other bullies out there have forgotten that their victims are human beings with feelings. They have forgotten that their actions have consequences. Blogs like this are just as guilty. Yes, what Wei and Ravi did was horrible. But it's a symptom.
Treat the cause.
Don't become it or perpetuate it.
Be the best version of yourself, the you of legend.
Remember. Remember that other people are just as fragile, fallible, confused and insecure as you are.
It gets better, but only if we work at it.