Browsing through my Twitter feed during my usual morning routine I stumbled upon a tweet by Alec Baldwin.
Responses have been mixed to this tweet, and the conversation is continuing now as I write this. I know that I have written before about how we need to treat others with kindness regardless of station and occupation, especially when we are online. But this tweet, this morning, made me wonder. I know that a lot of folks have said that unkindness (aka bullying) has been around forever, it’s just more prevalent today.
Why? Is it possible that in this “information” era that we live in that we are really not informed? Instead, there’s a perpetual bombardment of poor behavior of mass unkindness. To an unprecedented degree, and we have created a wild west of cruelty. It is mainstream to be mean, on and off the screen.
This woman has been lambasted in the media, print and digital. Regardless of what we may think of her behavior (something that never would have been revealed had she acted in a different era) was it ever okay for people to speak about her the way they have? This woman has been publicly ridiculed, one cruel comment after another. People did skits about her on TV. She has been humiliated in newspapers and magazines. She has been called names online.
Some say that if she didn’t want negative press/attention then she should not have become an actress. What?!? This type of statement says a few things. 1) Don’t live your dream, because if you do then we will find some way to tear you down. 2) It’s okay to be cruel to people in certain professions, because their life is not of value. 3) If you want people to support you, then be a robot and don’t make mistakes. Ever.
Watch TV, go online, or read a magazine or paper and you will see unkind things being stated about others. Just stand in line at the grocery store and your emotional senses are overloaded. Photos with negative headlines, pointing out people’s imperfections. Reporters or talk show hosts criticizing someone’s decision or mistake. Radio show hosts calling people names. President Obama being cursed at during a Facebook Town Hall Meeting.
This is what our youth sees, hears, reads. They are bombarded with examples of how to be cruel to others. Part of the problem with bullying and cyberbullying is the constant modeling of unkindness. One way that children construct meaning of how to live their lives is by watching what others do, repeatedly. They then take that behavior and make it their own. Our words and actions have led our youth to believe that interactions should be cruel more often than kind. They deserve more than that. We all do.