Confronting bullying in college

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Every day I witness bullying. Every step I take on campus, I see people judging one another based on their outward appearance. I dreamt that once I graduated high school, there would be a sudden increase in maturity, and everyone would calmly accept each other for who they are. Unfortunately, this dream is far out of reach.

The world is filled with bullying. The difference between bullying in high school and bullying in the real world is that we suddenly become uneducated and unconcerned about the issue. Once we graduate high school, we no longer receive constant information about bullying, so we sweep it under the rug.

When we go out into the real world, bullying becomes a normal occurrence. We begin to redefine the problem into normalcy. We do not even realize when we are being judgmental. When I am walking to class, I sometimes catch myself casually making harsh judgments in my mind about the people I pass on the street. When I realize what I am doing, I instantly stop myself and think, “Why do these thoughts even cross my mind?”

(Photo courtesy of Charlotte Stanford on Flickr Creative Commons)
(Photo courtesy of Charlotte Stanford on Flickr Creative Commons)

I’m forced to acknowledge the fact that these thoughts originate from submersion into our society. Social media is full of hateful minds, and the constant propaganda they spout causes many of us to subconsciously conjure up our own horrible judgments. This problem becomes an issue when we experience these moments of bullying without taking action. These moments build up until they are just normal. Whether it be reversing our own negative thoughts, or helping someone else to do the same, when we pass on the opportunity to act against micro-aggressions and bullying, our eyewitness accounts become just a casual walk on the street.

To solve the problem, we must learn empathy and kindness. Every individual has unique qualities that make up who they are. We have to learn to respect our differences, and not judge because of them. We may have heard this a million times, but we must take it to heart in order to finally make a change.

I had a very sad experience involving bullying within my first week of college. One of my friends has a roommate with Autism and people treat him terribly. It is unfair to treat someone badly for something they cannot control. When I said this to those being terrible to him, they asked to me, “Who cares? If he can’t control it now, then he never will.”

This broke my heart. The narrow-mindedness of those who hurt others just because they do not care sickens me. I continue to stand up for this person and I continue to be put down for it. This whole idea that kindness is not cool is stupid. We are grown adults. Being cool is the LEAST of our priorities. Being understanding and empathetic is way more important and fulfilling.

As adults, we now have the control over how we want our society to be portrayed. We have to decide if we want to be seen as an aggressive and unkind generation, or one that reaches out and makes a difference. Kindness is not dead, and neither is accepted diversity.

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