When Beyoncé dropped her Lemonade flick with the world a few weeks ago, the Internet, of course, went berserk. But then came the immediate attacks following the “Becky with good hair” lyric from her short film.
Her fans, notoriously known as the “BeyHive,” attacked other celebrities, assuming they were the proverbial “Becky,” causing the rift between Beyoncé and her famous husband, Rachel Roy and Rita Ora.
But there has to come to a point where I’m sure Beyoncé probably thinks her fans take things a little too far. Bullying, be it in person or online, is never OK. Roy eventually tweeted her frustration with the attacks, when some of the “BeyHive” bullied her teenage daughter.
And that’s just one recent incident. Malia Obama recently decided on Harvard as her school of choice in the next two years. But when Fox News posted the story to their website, the President’s daughter was bullied immediately. The commentary got so bad, Fox News had to close the post to comments.
Let’s not forget the Old Navy ad of the biracial family that met a barrage of racist insults and comments. It was so bad, Jack McCain, son of Senator John McCain, came out in public to slam the insults.
And it doesn’t end there! Dejah Jones of Newport News, Virginia; Nicole Mittendorff of Fairfax, Virginia; Amy Inita Joyner-Francis of Wilmington, Delaware; Destiny Gleason of Warrenton, Missouri — all of these individuals recently took their young lives from the result of constant bullying. The list is as long as time itself.
So what gives? Does Beyoncé, Old Navy, and Fox News have at least a moral obligation to combat extreme bullying? In fact, why not everyone put more of an effort into fighting against bullying? Yes, our country was founded on free speech and liberty, but it was also founded on ensuring domestic tranquility and promoting general welfare to one another, per The Constitution.
So, let’s all work to put bullying in its place. Here’s a list of ideas to adapt to get started.
1. Speak up.
If you see something, say something. Not speaking is not an excuse. There are entirely too many anonymous avenues available in workplaces, schools, and universities to allow bullying to continue.
2. Don’t share social media depicting bullying.
We have a real problem with glorifying violence. Chances are you see at least one video of kids viciously fighting or bullying each other on social media once a week. Don’t fuel the fire by sharing it.
3. If you do share, give ways to stop it.
And implement it in your life. It’s one thing to share something because you’re disgusted by it. It’s another thing to leave a disproving comment and then do nothing to change your own behavior. Facebook and Twitter both have functions to report abusive material. Use it. If enough people report abusive posts, these companies will have no choice but to act.
4. Write more letters to leaders.
If your child is being bullied, inform the principal. If the principal wants to sit on their hands, inform the superintendent. If they decide to twiddle their thumbs, inform the major or the local television station. Everyone has someone to answer to.
5. You’re not entitled to your own opinion.
I know this is an American right. But think about it. If you were really allowed to say whatever you want, why are there affirmative action laws in most workplaces? So, while legally you are allowed to have an opinion, it could cost you your job or livelihood. You’re entitled to your opinion, not a job. Learn to shut it up and keep things to yourself.
6. Learn empathy.
Words do hurt. Take yourself out of your bubble and try to understand words that don’t affect you could wreck havoc on someone else. We don’t know each other’s story, so don’t assume a little name calling or teasing is OK in every situation.
7. Recall some of your misfortune.
Before you start teasing the new coworker on the job for being a little out of the loop, simply recall how ridiculously clueless you were starting out on a new job. Yeah, doesn’t feel good, does it?
8. Humble yourself.
Not everything requires to be pointed to and laughed at simply because everyone else is laughing. Someone who was a great friend maybe turned into a real jerk. Humble yourself and do not fall into that category.
9. Pull out your cell phone and share it — with law enforcement
If you’re going to use social media to call out bullying, make sure the local law enforcement officials know, especially if it’s a serious crime taking place. And from the looks of many bullying videos that turned into brawls, it wouldn’t hurt to forward your video to the cops.
10. Stop giving excuses for kids.
In Shawano, Wisconsin, fining parents for bullying is a reality. Stop saying kids will be kids and other lame excuses. It could cost you a ton of money! And yes, this law in this small town is growing to be quite popular around the country. You’ve been warned!
11. Don’t be scared to be an iron-fist parent.
Sometimes a little tough love is all it takes to get bullying children to realize their behavior will not be tolerated. Cut the phone and iPad use. Disconnect the laptop and cable. Cancel all their leisure activities until they can show and improve their behavior towards others.
12. Stand up for yourself.
You have a right not to be physically or verbally antagonized. And if they don’t want to listen, have an authority figure break it down to them.
13. Know when to get authorities involved.
Be able to distinguish horseplay from nefarious play. And if you’re not 100% sure, get them involved anyway and let them make the determination.
14. Use your platform.
Are you so proud of your thousands of Instagram and Twitter followers? Use your own platform to reach thousands of people in your own network when promoting anti-bullying.
15. Encourage celebrities to use their platform.
Simply because celebrities are celebrities, they shouldn’t sit idle and allow people to viciously attack others, especially if it’s being done in their name. Many celebrities, like Lady Gaga, have spoke up about bullying. In fact, she started an anti-bullying foundation. Unfortunately, her message needs to be heard throughout all of Tinseltown a little louder.
16. Know your harassment laws in the workplace.
Some of your coworkers will treat the workplace like a playground. If you suspect bullying, even if you’ve informed your supervisor, get familiar with workplace harassment laws just in case. You never know when you’ll have to call legal counsel to get your point across that you will not be bullied at work.
17. Please. Please. Please don’t be scared to talk to someone.
Many of the poor souls who’ve taken their lives over bullying tend to have one thing in common: the lack of support. If you’re being bullied, please don’t feel you’re alone in the world. There are many online bullying forums to chat about bullying anonymously if you’re scared to address it in person.
18. Join anonymous groups — even if you’re not being bullied.
It makes even more sense to take a peek every now and then into forums if you’re a parent of a bullied child or someone you love’s being bullied. Get help, insight, and tips from others actually going through the ringer.
19. Encourage stricter laws for bullying around the world.
Shawano, Wisconsin is on to something with fining parents for bullying. Other cities and countries should follow suit. Hitting people where it hurts the most (their wallet) gives them no choice but to MAKE change happen or face some serious legal ramifications.
20. Don’t feed the trolls.
Many bullies are simply crying for attention. Don’t give it to them. Let them bask in their own misery alone.
21. Stop sitting idle.
When we hear about another young person taking his or her life, it’s not enough to pray and wish their family strength. Going to town hall meetings, speaking out about the deaths of numerous young people to administrations that are often left shrugging their shoulders, going to the media, or even campaigning to Capitol Hill are some of the loudest ways you can combat bullying.
Featured photo credit: Sad by Loren Kerns via flickr.com