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bullying – 70s v 10s

Playground bullying

This week is apparently Anti-Bullying Week so they said on BBC Breakfast, this morning.

Funny that, as I would’ve thought that every week should be – so perhaps they just mean it was ‘Bullying Awareness Week’ or something.  Anyway, whichever, it got me to thinking about how much bullying is given coverage these days.

Bullying is nothing new – OK, cyber-bullying is obviously new, but it’s just one form of it – the principal is the same.

I was bullied when I was a kid.  My mum was even bullied as a kid (which surprises me as she’s a tough old boot!).  Bullying has always existed – it’s always been traumatic, and to be honest, I think it’s always been a part of school life.  Anyone who is different for whatever reason, is a classroom / playground situation is bound to be singled out and mocked.

It’s human nature.

I grew up in Chigwell Row – a pretty small community, which was very very white and very very middle-class in the 70s.  And when my paremt’s divorced, my dad refused to allow me to drop his surname – so my parents decided that I would have BOTH of their surnames, and I was therefore double-barreled.  It wasn’t enough that my heritage (half-Tunisian, quarter German, eighth Scottish, eighth Spanish) made me look different to all the other kids at school, and that I had an unusual first name in a class of Richards, Jasons, Joanne’s and Kellys – oh no, I had to have a stupid long, weird-sounding double-barreled surname.  Thanks mum and dad.

I had no chance, LOL.

So I was taunted.  I was called ‘Paki’ for years, amongst many other things.  All through primary school.  It was only when I went to secondary school and we got a couple of (shock, horror) brown and black children that it seemed to gradually peter out.  I grew up fighting until I worked out that being a clown was easier on everyone.

But apparently kids aren’t allowed to do that any more.  If any child gets ‘bullied’, the parents have to be straight up the school and there are policies and procedures to deal with it.

I may be a bit controversial, but I don’t think that’s necessarily right.  I think it’s part of learning abotu society, and the fact that we may not agree with certain things, but they’re goign to exist whether you like it or not.  If you’re fat, ugly, thick, ginger even, you’re probably going to have a slightly different life-experience to someone who is beautiful, willowy, intelligent – blah blah blah.  and the most important thing *I* think (personally) is to deal with what you have, make the most of it, and use it to your advantage.

I think being wrapped in cotton wool and being told that you’re exactly the same as everyone else is avoiding the issue.  Just another part of modern life where everything is always someone else’s fault.  we’ve turned into a nation of mollycoddlers in a blame society.

But, of course, that’s just my opinion, and I’ll probably get shot down in flames for it!

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  1. Lee
    November 17, 2010 at 9:31 am

    “Bullies are all cowards and if you confront them they will back down.”
    This little piece of advice is why you can still feel the break in the bridge of my nose 30 odd years later.

  2. Lee
    November 17, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    No, I would most certainly have backed down.

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