How often do we think about bullying in society? It isn’t always kids being bullied. Look at the senior citizen bus monitor in Upstate New York.
I am not an anthropologist, psychologist, or sociologist, but I can observe and figure certain things out on a general common sense level.
Yes, I was bullied, but also turned it around in my younger days and bullied others as well.
There are times I should have stood up for someone being bullied but didn’t. I always saw it as a character flaw, but it isn’t as strange as it seems. Why wont people do what would seem to be the “right thing?”
What if the bully has the backing of the majority? It takes major courage and the will to be ostracized to take that risk. I was just reading a book that told the story of Rosa Parks not giving up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama city bus. Why do you think her courage is so admired? If you were a white person in 1955 Montgomery, would you have stuck up for Rosa Parks, or the bus driver and the police who arrested her. If you were a white teenager and your friends egged you on to throw something at Dr. King’s house, would you have said no?
The problem is, no one likes a bully, but no one likes a victim either. I don’t know what bullying is like in cultures outside the United States. For such an individualistic culture, we have so much trying to fit in and go along with a peer group. The peer group also differs from place to place and situation to situation.
I can only imagine a certain degree of bullying being useful for our primitive ancestors. You would want to be able to scare the enemy tribe off or keep someone in your own group from poaching on your things.
It’s hard to teach someone who feels fear not to show it. Picking up self confidence is hard but it sure helps. You don’t even have to be violent. Humor works. Self deprecating humor can work. If the bully calls you a jerk and you respond with “Yes I am,” and turn it into a joke, what’s s/he going to do next? You’ve taken the wind out of their sails.
It’s much easier when you’re older. You can develop an “I don’t give a hoot,” attitude. Hopefully, age and wisdom can work together.