18 June 2012


In part 1 of Bullying; I focused on this behavior among our young and had indicated that I would examine adult arenas of it in part 2.  As stated before, there are a myriad of venues that one can witness or become the perpetrator or victim of this behavior.  The workplace second to law enforcement trumps most of the other settings for the consequences can be so brutal and have a lasting impact on the lifestyles of those who are victims as well as collateral damages, e.g. family and co-workers.

We've observed the bully on the highway...thus the title 'road rage' and in some cases; homicide was the consequence.  Sports events can be lethal as we've viewed the clips of fights in the stands and on the playing field.  Folks are hurt and some even die as a result of a melee.  One can stand in line at department stores, restaurants, concerts and a bully becomes impatient and attempts to cut line and 'all hell breaks loose' in a flash.  One word leads to another and of course that pesky finger doesn't help things!  I'll get back to that finger!  The political arenas stateside are interesting conclaves of mental, emotional & verbal bullying and let's not forget the physical consequences of this behavior among the various international governments.  I still can't forget the image of a republican yelling out "you lie" at President Obama when he was addressing the nation and again that pesky finger that Governor Brewer aimed at the former in an appalling manner.  Yes, bullying occurs on many levels of society and don't think that doesn't have an impact on children and youth.

The family is where it all starts for some and influences how members interact with each other and how eventually this dysfunctional behavior permeates all facets of society.  Law enforcement and the criminal justice system take the concept of bullying to new heights.  Not all but there is a pattern of this behavior played out on the nightly and the 24hr. news cycle, taser incidents, the numerous lawsuits for rogue cops and disproportionate sentencing for many people of color and the poor in general. As I said in Part 1 a myriad of milieus. 

Many work environments today have become toxic with daily acts of humiliation and exploitation. The current economic environment with downsizing promotes the overloading of workers with additional duties, verbal abuses, overt and subtle forms of intimidation prevail and for many folks who need their jobs--there is a sense of powerlessness.  We all know of so many families who are struggling because of lay-offs and have lost their homes and vehicles which makes job hunting a complex and difficult process.  According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, victims of this behavior are experiencing depression, symptoms of PTSD, requiring significant sick time and in some work environments there are exceptional turnover rates.  Reduced productivity and poor company image have implications for more outsourcing to other countries.  For the latter, poor work environments and low wages are reasonably adapted to for they are better in comparison to the miserable work surroundings they toiled under before the companies moved to their towns and villages. 

As an aside, I was concerned that in some of the studies women in supervisory positions engaged in more bullying behavior than their male counterparts.  This was disturbing to me and again I couldn't help but wonder if  women who've long been victims of  subjugation, harassment  and domination in work and corporate settings; have been co-opted  with that mindset. Their efforts to become more empowered by engaging in the same behavior that has victimized so many females in the workforce with the perceived lack of repercussions and in some cases observable advancement sustaining the behavior.  This deserves more scrutiny and workshops to stem the tide of this unacceptable development.

Tracy Whitaker, DSW, ACSW, conducted a study with some suggestions for this pervasive problem which states that there should be policy and laws to protect workers from this behavior and likens it to the sexual harassment policy.  Folks who are the victims of this phenomena--should seek redress by documenting incidents, look for other opportunities and resist the negative environments that they work in.  I would also suggest assertiveness training and researching time management protocol to substantiate your concerns that interfere with productivity and may change the nature and practices of cross training and overburdening existing employees.  No one should be berated or humiliated and certainly that pesky finger has no place in the work environment or any other milieu for the implications and consequences of that one act can be devastating.

I've provided a link with an excerpt from a book authored by Katherine Williams "Workplace Bullying" which I think is one of the more comprehensive accounts of this phenomenon with solutions and varying definitions for the types of bullying and their impact.  I suggest checking it out and you may want to get the book from the library or the various online book sellers. 




Anna Renee said...

Very interesting, sister. I hate to acknowledge yet another problem of society.
But the truth is we are being shown more and more by our leaders how to act, and lately they are acting despicably.

Its said that when we are victims we often turn around and victimize. And we also are followers - the herd mentality.

So I cant help but wonder that with all the corporate bullying, and political bullying, and the bullying of Pres Obama in the media - all which is glorified and served to us nightly on the news, how can we NOT be affected (victimized), then act it out in our own lives? It only follows that we would.

You probably heard about the bullying case of youngsters on a school bus maybe middle school aged, who taunted and humiliated a bus monitor who was an elder woman. They called her fat and poked and prodded her body. As she was overwhelmed and started to cry, they became even more vicious, saying things like, "how would a knife stuck in your fat belly come out" Or something like that.
Heartlesss, cold blooded and without eyes and a heart of compassion - and they were children speaking to an ELDER!

Carolyn Moon said...

I know Sister Anna; it was heartbreaking watching that video....such disrespect. I'll be 65 in August and I'm still respectful of the older women in my community and church. No first names always Ms. or Mrs. and the surname. I go to them when needed or greeting them. We were just reared that way and I thank the almighty for that.

I can't help but wonder in some pockets of OUR community if this is one of the consequences of children raising children. The mobility that's present now. Everyone moves away--it seems. When I was growing up we had a diversity of people in our community and being tough or criminal wasn't the only lifestyle we observed. We had a balance and people who cared about us and if they saw us acting out in any way we were corrected. Sometimes before we got home the phone would ring. To cuss out an adult or act disrespectful wasn't a thing that even the clubs or gangs would do when we were growing up. For the larger society, I think there's been a lack of supervision, guidance and discipline of the young ones. The games, internet,movies and certain aspects of 'pop culture' have influenced and taken over the role of responsible parenting.

Peer bullying during the spring of my life was a different thing. and I have a few horror stories about that but I survived it as a child. It didn't make me bitter and I gained more compassion for others and when empowered I fought against any type of bullying.

Thank you for stopping by. I wondered if I had become too "preachy" with this issue.

Anna Renee said...

I remember speaking to an elder BPP member who reminded me that the crack cocaine epidemic devastated an entire generation of youth - who lost parents to crack addiction. Those first generation of children who grew up and without proper parenting, went on to become parents.

Then there is pop culture's influence - music, film, tv, which has wreaked devastation all the more on American youth no matter their race.

But what I like about black folks is we will kick up a fuss non-stop about what has happened, and do everything to counteract the negative. So the preaching needs to continue.
Keep on preaching my sister, and post your sermons on Facebook, where the kids are. Remember, we didnt always like what our elders told us, but when we grew up we understood and deeply appreciated their guidance.

I preach and preach and preach on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, and whereever else. They might get mad, but that lets me know they read it and are contemplating the truth. They may not write a response, but they still "friend" me.

Anna Renee said...

Let me give you an example of a young girl who follows me on Facebook. One day I mentioned something about how dangerous cow's milk is to us black folks.

I said it like this: "Cow's breast milk is made to grow a baby calf into a 1500lb cow/bull in 2 years. Yet we humans drink it and wonder why we gain weight"

This girl got hot about that message! Haha! She said she was gonna continue to eat her yogurt, icecream and cheese.

So I consoled her and told her I used to eat it myself. She didnt respond. About two weeks later she's talking to her friends about getting back on her weight loss program!

We have influence on our youth! We WILL anger them when we teach the truth and they are convicted in their hearts! It my love for the people that make me preach it.

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