Gentlemen, if you couldn't tell. This isn't the conversation for you. Though that isn't to say that men, and boys don't understand the importance of the discussion.
Forreal though, it's high time we've talking about bullying in urban neighborhoods, and the fact that it goes largely under the radar. With the "strong Black woman" stereotype that is force fed to women from the time their young, we're taught "don't take shit from anyone". And in some cases, yelled at, or scolded when we cry and try to "snitch" on the bully. But with the psychological, and emotional toll bullying has on individuals of both genders coming to light, it's still prevalent and a worthy conversation to be had.
Especially in pre-adolescent, and adolescent years, girls are seeking acceptance, and validation through groups. When a girl is left out, or alienated in a group, this had deep psychological, and emotional affects on her. "It can cause a drop in grades, low self esteem, anxiety, depression, drug use, and poor eating habits in girls who are bullied", says a source from the National Crime Prevention Council.
When I was bullied from fifth grade to seventh grade, I was the weirdo. I wore weaves (to fit in), I wrote in a journal (to dissociate), and I pretty much kept to myself in fear of being further ostracized. The few times I thought I found a friend, and would confide in them how bullying was causing me suffering, they went back and told my bullies, and the bullies used that against me. Girl bullies are very petty.
"Girl bullies will sometimes form alliances with several different social groups to gain popularity and power. Girls are very socially inclined by nature... Therefore a group of bullying girls is very common and unfortunately more powerful because the bullying is being done by more than one person." This makes bullying harder on the bullied, and makes the bullied feel weak, and overpowered.
So you'd think that a bullying ring that has multiple alliances would go noticed right? WRONG. The lead bully is often popular, and well liked amongst adults. AKA "I think you're misunderstanding them", "I just can't picture ______ doing that", "Just try to play nice with them" conversations. In my case, my bullies were Spanish, and their justification for bullying me was that I was "over-sensitive", and I "deserved it". So the social worker for that grade usually would turn a deaf ear when I complained about the shit I was dealing with.
When I was looking up a stock photo for this post, it was hard to find a Black girl being bullied. Because Black girls aren't bullied. We're "too strong" for that. If anything, we're the ones bullying. Or if a Black girl is being bullied, she is "a nerd", or "light skinned/mixed".
Some teens lash out like Ja'Meya, others kill themselves as a cry for help, and attention that they've never received by adults who turn a blind eye. I've thought of keying my bullies face, I thought of harming myself, and even harming them. But hope, and love is what kept me centered and grounded.
Join me and Bully Blockerz, an organization whose mission is to "end bullying across the globe with our fun and innovative approach that is sure to captivate and leave a memorable impression," to raise awareness on the impact of bullying, and encourage youth to be pretty, not petty.
Purchase your very own "Be Pretty, Not Petty" tees here, at the Urban Royals' Royal Items store.