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The Blind Eye versus the Ignorant Eye

Anonymous, Contributor

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Everybody in this school has been through the talks at the beginning or end of year. All about bullying and suicide awareness. We see the posters telling us to be kind and to give a hand to people, social media posts persuading us to do random acts of kindness.

But do these really help?

I’m saying no, and here is why.

I’ll start a little further back.

Like I said, we have all been through the anti-bullying presentations by the Crider representative, and at the end almost always we have had the same question. “So, how many of you have seen bullying happen in school, or on social media?” The presenter would ask. Always, nobody raised their hands. “Oh, well that’s great! I think we’re making a difference,” she’d say.

And to most people, they think they were telling the truth. They had never bullied anyone or seen it. Nobody at Holt has been shoved into a locker and forced to give up their lunch money. Nobody walks down the halls with people parting like the Red Sea and whispering things about someone simply walking. It doesn’t happen because this is the most stereotypical, outdated version of bullying they still teach awareness for.

I see bullying all the time, but probably not in the ways that you think.

Excessive exclusion is a form of bullying; which makes a lot of people bullies.

Even me.

I was (and still am) on a team with a pretty average amount of people. Not huge like marching band, not small like Anime Club. But, there was someone they particularly didn’t like, which pushed them out of our lives and out of our group. They left the team claiming different reasons, but I’m sure they only tell the most trusted people the truth.

We were awful to them.

People would ignore her; when she made suggestions, we shut her down. If they tried to join a conversation they would receive dirty looks and the room would turn into a painful, suffocating silence. Even the coach did not particularly like her, but she didn’t try very hard to hide it.  

I cannot describe to you how I felt after they left.

It was eating me alive to know I treated someone so awful it pushed them away from something they loved so much. I apologized to them and told them how sorry I was for their treatment on the team; what was done is done. Even after the apology I didn’t feel much better. I saw them sitting in a corner, about to cry, and I looked away.

I did nothing.

But now I know, and I will never treat anyone like that again. Me and the team were lucky she was mentally strong enough to power through it, and quit and found something new. Worst case scenario, we could have had a suicide on our hands. It makes my heart heavy when I think about it.

My point is is that all the people on this team do not care at all how they treated this person. They all go on living happy lives, thinking they are such nice people, how they would never treat any body badly, and even during some of our meetings they will sit around and talk down on the person who was once their teammate.

I think we are teaching kids and teens that bullying happens on the playground, in the halls and it’s the old school kind; the same trouble making kids who tower over others with their leather jackets and shove kids into lockers and come up with mean nicknames.

But that was then, and this is now.

Now, bullying is harder to find. Kids have gotten sneakier about it. Now it’s dirty looks in the halls and ignoring people who are screaming for the attention they need. Now it’s pushing people away from your group of friends. Now it’s having private group chats just for talking down on certain people, or giving them codename to talk about them in public.

I do not think the people on the team really understand the impact of their actions; they did not talk to them or know them well enough to understand the struggle they put that person through. They just do not know. They are ignorant to the consequences of their actions; and that is the difference between turning a blind eye and just having ignorant eyes.

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The Blind Eye versus the Ignorant Eye