The Wrong Answer to Bullying

by Fitzroy on February 24, 2010

Is bullying the same as lynching? I suppose so, if you think hurt feelings are the same as death by asphyxiation.

But if you can’t distinguish verbal criticism, which is constitutionally protected, from homicide, then perhaps you should find a job other than law school professor. Instapundit links to this abstract of an article by Michael J. Higdon of the University of Tennessee College of Law:

[M]y article argues that bullying on the basis of gender non-conformity is, in essence, a form of lynching. First, both are driven by unwritten social codes—in one instance, white supremacy; in the other, gender stereotypes. Second, both are carried out by perpetrators who do not act in isolation but with the support and sometimes involvement of the larger community. As I explain, one of the reasons gender-based bullying is so frequent is the degree to which peers and school administrators ignore such behavior and, in some instances, even become active participants. Third, both result in extreme harm—lynching, in its most basic form, resulted in dead bodies; however, a lynching need not be defined so narrowly. In the case of segregation, for example, we had living children with “lynched” spirits.

Is gender-based taunting acceptable? No. Is it tantamount to lynching? Not by a long shot.

The author’s zealotry in promoting this false analogy does nothing to solve the problem, and I think in fact it tends to exacerbate it.

It is difficult enough to grow up male, but boys these days have to grow up without any clear model of what it means to be a man. Sure, when I was 11 years old, there were some boys who were not quite on track. I have no idea in most cases whether they turned out to be homosexual or if they were simply on a different developmental path. Luckily for them, they weren’t forced to decide at the ripe age of 11.

What cultural insanity has made it necessary for kids to grapple with their sexual orientation before puberty?

The answer seems rather obvious. There is an over-emphasis on sex and an irrational belief that people are largely defined by sexual orientation. This is not something that the heterosexual majority came up with, but rather part of the political agenda of homosexuals. It serves to promote the doubtful proposition that all people are either immutably heterosexual or homosexual from conception. There is no choice, only a realization. Sexual “preference” is a misnomer.

The tragedy of child suicide cannot be blamed so easily on taunts from peers and a failure to enforce more political correctness at school. In fact, gay seems to be the new cool at school. I have watched my own daughter’s classmates cheerfully declare themselves homosexual without fear of any backlash (and without sufficient evidence). It has become an easy alternative to the rough and competitive environment of young men, and the perfect excuse for shyness or rejection.

Perhaps we have become too accepting of homosexuality as the underlying reason behind any differences. Maybe the boys who wanted to take home economics instead of shop really just had different interests and skills rather than a gene that would determine their fate forever. Maybe labeling them early as having this immutable trait consigns them to a lifestyle that they don’t desire or understand. It is more than an 11-year-old should have to deal with.

We might avoid some suicides if we could give boys a chance to grow up without assuming that homosexuality is behind every bump on the road to manhood.

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