Archive for Bullying

Bullying: A Routinely Social Behavior

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Guest Columnists with tags , , , on February 10, 2013 by Gary Johnson

By T. Duffy, Guest Columnist

How would you weigh any rationale for bullying? Would it be because a person has more money, less money, better looks, poor looks, intelligence, unintelligent, racial differences, or the stronger? If these are some of the motives, then there’s no reason to believe it only occurs amongst the younger population, where most of the concerns are directed lately. Furthermore this behavior isn’t primary amongst boys, although they seem to get most of the attention. Most people feel jealousy has a part in how some people react to others, but it’s the position of the socioeconomic well being of people and mindset, that often shapes the character of our younger population to be the most vulnerable. Those who would be at risk could be swayed to commit such an act, but in contrast they could be someone to end up on the receiving end also.

It’s unusual to express any harsh prejudices, unless we’re sometimes coached or live amongst those who often exhibit that kind of behavior. There may be a correlation between someone being abused and bullying, but abused children aren’t known to become abusers, or bully’s to come from abusive homes. Circumstances where maltreatment may have to be addressed over a period of time could be determined to be socially kindled, instead of just being handled as an unmanageable emotional offense.

Although individuals and organizations are trying to make known the serious consequences on others because of bullying, I believe it will be an enduring problem. Since it occurs at all levels of the society and across all racial lines the first and foremost offenders are adults. In fact it’s adults who write scripts and produce movies that are the most sort after, for television and theater about some indifference to mistreat someone. These movies are the ones the audience is often drawn into, yet few really know the actual theme of the movie is retribution.

It may not be as noticeable amongst some groups, but occasionally the head of harassment will pop up amongst the most conservative. If we believe only the physical display of bullying is harmful, why not believe offensive words to be just as damaging. Living within a society where one group seems to be a better example of narcissism than expressing some degree of civility, the atmosphere for social discord was set long before most of us recognized what we were.

Unless you live in a culture where penalty means you can get your hand chopped off, or placed against the wall to face a firing squad. I believe it’s the conduct of the supposed ruling class that determines how the balance of the society interacts.

Bullying and The Truth: Part One

Posted in Barack Obama, Black Interests, Latino Interests with tags , , on November 24, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Mike Ramey

A few years back, one of the best ways to liven up a divorce custody case would be for one parent to ‘declare’ that the other parent had ‘done’ something to the children. The one who had dropped the nuke–in many cases–were not going to get custody in the first place. The rationale–kick over the card table so that one could/would get their way by judicial decree. Never mind who got hurt, or whether or not the other parent would have been the better parent. The ‘nuking’ party wanted their way…and pretty much got it, via legal ‘bullying’. Thanks to no-fault divorce and joint custody agreements, this weapon has been pretty much neutralized, but not totally erased from society.


To me, a bully is one who tries to get their way ‘over’ another person by any means in their ‘kit bag’. They can use threats. They can use manipulation. They can use force. A true bully is easy to spot and is usually a person who is trying to get their way over another person. Institutions can ‘bully’ their participants. Bosses can ‘bully’ their employees. Co-workers can ‘bully’ each other–or entire workplaces. Spouses can ‘bully’ spouses. Single folks can ‘bully’ those with whom they’d like to date or marry. Countries or nations can bully ‘weaker’ nations.

Let’s not be fooled. TRUE bullying is about power and control. The cocktail of selfishness. In our ‘app’ era though, bullying is rapidly being used to form a ‘cottage industry’ and take dollars from taxpayers while increasing political/social/sexual preference power for the socially selfish. This is just another ‘issue’ that is being manipulated to further ‘silence’ possible public dissent against those who want to ‘flaunt’ their rebellion against social norms.  Of couse, the social ‘victims’ tend to forget one thing…they often demand that the very people who have the guts to stand up to their foolishness ‘must’ clean up their self-destructive behavior–after running its course.


By now, many have heard of the incident out of Wisconsin where a female TV news anchor was called obese by a viewer. Furthermore, the complainer made his views known on a FB page that belonged to the woman’s husband–who also is an anchor at the same TV station. After seeing the publicity photos of the woman in question, I’d have to side with the complainer. The truth is the truth…and it was amazing how many people came to the defense of the female anchor. Sadly, the supporters of the woman called the complainer ‘a bully’ for exercising his right to his opinion.

Let’s consider a little reality here.

What if the TV station’s consultant decided that the female anchor HAD to lose a few pounds ‘for the good of the station ratings’? Would the consultant be called ‘a bully’? Would the station be accused of ‘bullying’ for wanting slimmer, trimmer TV personalities representing their ‘brand’?

I think not.

In the media profession, those who appear on the air or in print have to develop a ‘thick’ skin. They were hired for their looks and/or for their talent, skills and abilities. I’ve heard of, and seen TV and Radio personalities fired for a variety of reasons. These were ‘business’ decisions. Not the best ones, and oftentimes not in the best interest of the media personality. Nevertheless, they were ‘business’ decisions.

It may ‘shock’ many of you to know that there are those who have ‘stalked’ me and sent me ‘nasty grams’ for the columns I have written. It’s part of the territory. You can’t write about a topic without bumping into a few trolls.  Former Fox TV Network commentator Brit Hume once said, and I’ll paraphrase: “Jesus Christ are the two most dangerous words that can be uttered in American society today.”

Could I contact federal authorities about my on-line trolls, stalkers and haters?  I would be within my rights to do so…but it would defeat the satisfaction of exposing the foolishness I receive. Would I call my critics ‘bullies’? That would be rather childish. I knew the risks. I knew the job was dangerous when I took it! I may disagree with them, but they aren’t going to stop me from saying what I’ve got to say. As we used to say, back in the day: “One monkey don’t stop no show!” I know the Constitution, rely on Jesus Christ, and keep on stepping–and writing. Everyone has an opinion, whether they have the courage to state it to your face, or talk about you to other writers or individuals.  Stating an opinion does NOT make on a bully.


One of the things that I have noticed in our ‘app, post and text’ age is that there are more and more people who ‘revel’ in being jerks and fools. There used to be a way you could tactfully state your beliefs. However, with more and more people deciding that they have to be ‘mega viral’ in order to hype their individual relevance, the usual common sense safeguards have been cast away. We have a class of people who ‘get off’ on talking about their sexual orientation as if it is a civil right, when many know it is a moral wrong. This IS America. You have a right to be a freak! Just don’t bring it up to my face and expect me NOT to react to it! Further: Don’t hold a press conference, or prance around the Internet calling folks ‘bullies’ because they don’t appreciate your invading their personal space, or attempting to negate their gift of common sense by throwing your trash onto their front lawns.


Aside from all of the ‘hand wringing’ about bullying, they do have some benefits.

The first one: A bully will force you to stand on your OWN two feet and deal with what could be a major, real problem. Sure, you may call someone ‘a bully’ for telling you that what you are doing is self destructive and in bad taste. Keep in mind that someone is brave enough to tell you a truth that many of your so-called ‘friends’ have been hiding from you–for months or years. The second blessing is that a bully will force you to focus on reality. A bully doesn’t ‘allow’ you to exist in a dream world. You have to focus on reality. When David was taunted by Goliath, David had to focus on Goliath in reality…not fantasy. Real rocks cannot hurt imaginary beings. Rocks of truth can bring down real giants–and real bullies. Thirdly: A bully will force one to protect that which is precious to them. People who ‘step in’ and cut off gossip and/or slander from folks who are not able to defend themselves have great courage within them. Without a bully to taunt them, some people would not find their ‘inner strength’…nor would they need for God to get involved in their lives to help them develop a ‘backbone’.

A federal grant, a seminar, or congressional hearings WILL NOT stop a bully. To STOP a bully requires the person being bullied to RESIST! More to come–in Part Two!

RAMEY, a syndicated columnist and book reviewer, lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. THE RAMEY COMMENTARIES appears on fine websites/blogs around the world. Email © 2012, 2013 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications.

Are We Doing All We Can To Stop Bullying?

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Gary A. Johnson, Women's Interests with tags , , , , , on April 8, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Gary A. Johnson

I’ve been working with children in “underserved” neighborhoods aka “the hood” for a number of years.  My company has been teaching students in elementary, middle and high school personal development, professional etiquette and STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) skills.

I’ve seen the effects of kids and adults who’ve been bullied at school and in the workplace.  One of the reasons that I believe that bullying is on the rise is because not enough people are involved in the prevention process.  School administrators seem to be paralyzed.  Teachers are bullied, families are bullied and everyone is frustrated because they can’t make it stop.

Whether it be physical (hitting, kicking, spitting), verbal (name calling, using abusive language), indirect (spreading rumors, excluding people from groups) or cyber bullying using electronic and social media, bullying must STOP!

It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.*

Here are some sobering statistics about bullying:

  • 1 in 7 students in grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying
  • 15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school
  • 71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school
  • 1 out of 20 students has seen a student with a gun at school
  • 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying
  • Among students, homicide perpetrators were more than twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullied by peers
  • 87% of students said shootings are motivated by a desire to “get back at those who have hurt them.”
  • According to bullying statistics, 1 out of every 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated bullying
  • Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75% of school-shooting incidents

One of the “soldiers” in the fight against bullying is David C. Miller, M.Ed.  Miller is the co-founder and Chief Visionary Officer of the Urban Leadership Institute, LLC, ( a social enterprise that focuses on developing positive youth development strategies. ULI provides strategic planning, professional development, positive youth development concepts and crisis management services.  David Miller is also a former educator who spends a lot of time in the schools doing workshops/discussions with teachers, parents and children on the subject of bullying.  He’s also written several commentaries for this web site and blog on bullying.

David Miller has written a book that shows children how to confront bullies and how to protect themselves in a world where adults cannot always protect them.  The name of the book is Khalil’s Way.  Khalil’s Way is a funny, yet serious story about an 11 year-old boy growing up in tough community.  Khalil’s challenges include being raised by his mom, growing up without a meaningful relationship with his dad and confronting the school bully – “land mines” many young boys must navigate.  When you finish reading Khalil’s Way, you may be surprised at how the skinny kid with glasses was able to win over his bully while confronting his disappointment over growing up without his dad.

Published by the Urban Leadership Institute, Khalil’s Way is written to help youth navigate the tough days they will face in school, on the playground and even sometimes at home.  The book also helps youth deal with many of the challenges present within the community and society at large. While Khalil is gifted in math and chess, he struggles with a variety of issues including ADHD, food allergies and asthma. The book engages young readers with a gritty urban storyline and practical solutions on confronting negative peers.

Khalil’s Way, illustrated by award winning artist Jerry Craft, is ideal for teen and preteen

readers who are often reluctant to pick up books.  It has already received rave reviews from educators, parents and mental health clinicians at a time when so many children are struggling to deal with school bullies, likely because it provides children and youth with a blueprint for making healthy decisions.

Increasingly we are bombarded with media footage of children bringing guns to school to settle conflicts or, sadly, children choosing suicide as a means of escaping bullying. Khalil’s Way speaks to a generation of young readers who desperately need support and guidance to deal with life’s challenges.

Check out David Miller’s commentary on bullying for the National Education Association (NEA) at

* Source: National Education Association

Khalil’s Way

  • By David Miller, M.Ed.
  • Book Title: Khalil’s Way
  • Publisher: Urban Leadership Institute
  • Release Date: March 10, 2012
  • ISBN: 978-0-615-59706-5
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Price: $12.00

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In Blog. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.

Are We Bold Enough To Protect Our Children?

Posted in Black Interests, Fatherhood, Women's Interests with tags , on February 16, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By David Miller

In the past few months, bullying or the victimization of some of our youngest citizens, has dominated national headlines.  You can hardly pick up a newspaper or turn on the evening news without hearing about a bullying incident. Interpersonal violence perpetrated by school-age children and youth has led to a rash of suicides, homicides and non-fatal injuries. The phenomenon of bullying supersedes race, class, and religion and has become a pervasive issue in the lives of children, families, teachers, and school administrators. For many children and their parents, bullying is a nightmare — one that forces many families to seek legal action, relocate to a new school district, or move to another state in extreme cases. In many situations, parents exhaust all avenues to protect their children; however, there is a great need for schools to become more accountable for the bullying that occurs in their hallways and classrooms.

Just last month 13-year-old Nadin Khoury was hung from a fence in Upper Darby, a Philadelphia suburb, after being savagely beaten and kicked. Khoury, a young man from Liberia, was thrust among the ranks of thousands of children who are bullied and assaulted daily in public and private schools across the United States. In all, seven boys ranging in ages 13 – 17 were arrested and charged with kidnapping and a host of other offenses as a result of the incident. To add insult to injury, the boys videotaped their heinous exploits.

While the incident didn’t happen on school grounds, it is essential that schools play a larger role in creating safe environments in and outside their buildings. Many would argue over the issue of whether a school can be held liable for incidents involving children that don’t occur on school grounds. While this is certainly debatable, the reality is parents expect a much higher degree of safety for their children.

Bullying and the senseless loss of precious life has become a national epidemic. Many kids who are bullied eventually stand up for themselves, fight back, and the bullying stops. Some bullied kids involve their parents and school officials to get the problem resolved. Sadly, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, an impressionable 11-year-old student at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, Mass, hung himself in 2009 after enduring repeated bullying at school. Despite his mother’s gallant efforts to intervene, young Carl was verbally abused on a daily basis. He was subjected to sexual slurs, taunted and called derogatory names. Seeing no relief in sight, Carl tragically took his own life.

Whether you are a young child who’s now attending a public or private school in the United States, or whether you are an adult who finished school years ago, can you even begin to imagine what life was like for Carl? And can you imagine how Nadin must feel now that his savage beating has thrust him into the center of a national crisis in this country?

Conservative estimates and self-reporting data from youth suggest that nearly two out of three bully victims, or 66 percent, were bullied once or twice during the school year, while one in five, or 20 percent, were bullied once or twice a month. Likewise, that same data suggests that one in 10 were bullied daily or at least several times a week. That is unconscionable in a society that prides itself on Democracy and whose Declaration of Independence states, in part, “…All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The above-mentioned estimates underscore the critical need for greater partnerships among schools, parents, law enforcement and mental health professionals to address the emotional and physical impact of interpersonal violence.

So I go back to Carl and Nadin. What could the schools and the larger community have done to ensure those two young men were safe in and out of school?

That question lies at the heart of any meaningful discussion about addressing school bullying. The nation has held endless Congressional hearings and policy briefings on bullying, but I maintain that is hardly enough. A new conversation that places children’s safety at the forefront must emerge. It must emerge now!

The incidents involving Nadin and Carl should awaken the consciousness of our nation and prompt us to begin raising critical concerns about schools, communities, and the safety of our children. It is amazing to me that in 2011 a large percentage of our children are often victimized in and around the one place – outside of their homes – that should be their oasis. While many schools are doing exemplary work to address bullying and the problems it spawns, and while some of those same schools are also addressing anti-social behaviors, the sad reality is many schools are failing to provide adequate protection for our children.

Finally, at the end of the day, parents must continue to be their children’s first line of defense. Greater communication between parents and children is needed to attack the vicious problem of bullying. We also need a better system to monitor the daily challenges our children face in school. There’s no doubt the statistics I cited earlier in this commentary are alarming; however, the unfortunate truth is many more bullying incidents go unreported because children are too ashamed or afraid to disclose them. They don’t report these egregious incidents because, in some cases, they don’t have sober, responsible adults in their lives in whom they can confide in and who  will know how to immediately step in to help rectify the problem. This speaks volumes about the need for adults to “step up” and become better parents and better advocates for children.

If we don’t wrap our arms around this problem and truly begin to address bullying today, then the vulnerable children we are failing to protect now will be vulnerable adults within the next 20 years..It’s time to wake up, America. Bullying has gotten out of control. The time for action – whether you’re a parent or not – is now.

David Miller is Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Urban Leadership Institute, a social enterprise based in Baltimore.

Miller is also the Co-Founder of the Raising Him Alone Campaign, an effort to support single mothers who are raising male children.

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