Suicide of a school girl

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Suicide of a school girl

Postby Yessica » 02 Nov 2013, 09:42

I sometimes read the daily mail to improve my English. Today there was a very sad story. A girl commited suicide after she has been bullied.
According to her mother:

The other kids would take the mickey out of her because she said she liked astronomy. They’d laugh at how she talked to the teachers — politely.’[...] She did everything to try to fit in. She used to wear a skirt that was just above the knee but they called her frumpy and frigid, so she begged me to buy her shorter ones.’


According to her mother

Izzy ‘adored’ many of her teachers, they failed to tackle the bullies, even though they’d been told what was going on.

Gabbi claims she had contacted the school, Brixham College, at least 15 times in the months before her daughter died, complaining about the name-calling, teasing and the ostracising.

‘But every time I rang, I felt I was an irritation. You could hear it in their voices, as if they were rolling their eyes and going, “Oh, not her again.” ’


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... -interview.

I post this here because I do think it is "political" in a way. It is not just a sad story. It says something about our societies in Europe.
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Re: Suicide of a school girl

Postby Gavin » 02 Nov 2013, 11:17

I think this terribly tragic story on the one hand says something about how cruel young women can be to each other, and on the other something about the way that the first reaction of many schools to bullying is simply flat denial: they do not want an unpleasant reality to affect the reputation of the school and therefore their own jobs, so they deny there is a problem and prefer to have children suffer. That is nothing less than heartless self-seeking corruption, and indeed teachers who do this might even be considered accessories to the suicide.

The story also of course says something about the prevailing culture of downward aspiration and anti-intellectualism which we have often mentioned on this forum. I does not surprise me that youngsters are now ashamed to admit to having any interests beyond rap and football - even adults can be ridiculed for this.
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Re: Suicide of a school girl

Postby Martin » 02 Nov 2013, 20:46

It's interesting to note how one of the ringleaders came & gave Izzy's mother a hug at the funeral. Here we have the spectacle of someone being sentimental. Didn't TD say something about how sentimentality goes hand in hand with brutality? (Spoilt Rotten). I remember a remark of his about how, during the war, concentration camp officers could listen to Schubert songs after a hard day of mass exterminating. This is the way people behave now.
I remember being bullied myself at school in the 1950s. I told my father & he told me that bullies were cowards. If you stood up to them they would stop. He told me to hit the particular person doing the bullying so I did, but then I was a boy! The bullying stopped. In these days people do not seem to advocate standing up to bullies at all. They seem to encourage the 'sneak' technique where the victim tells a person in authority about the bullying. To my mind this only makes things worse. You get a reputation for being a sneak. When I was a child it was always considered more courageous to sort the problem out yourself & not go complaining to authority. This option was not really open to Izzy for obvious reasons but it is astounding how no-one in authority did a thing. It almost seems like there was a conspiracy by those in authority to allow pupils to be frightened into academic mediocrity just to fit in.
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Re: Suicide of a school girl

Postby Mike » 03 Nov 2013, 01:02

With stories like this, it's always worth remembering that you're only hearing one side of it. And as a teacher (and the son of a teacher who worked in a much tougher school than mine), I've seen plenty of instances of my colleagues being blamed for everything from shoplifting to gang assaults, all perpetrated by the children, on the basis of such stories in the media. So beware of accepting the victim's side of the story as the whole truth - that sort of thing results in things like the Macpherson Report.

Trying to stop bullying in schools is a little like trying to stop car accidents. You can never eliminate it entirely. You can put in place some measures to combat it, but (a) the best defence is still the experience and common sense of individual teachers, (b) it will happen a good deal more in schools with a "diverse" mix of both ability and social/ethnic background...yet another in the hundreds of instances to disprove the facile notion that "diverse = good" automatically, (c) the majority of actions put in place to "address" the problem will be either (1) counter-productive, or (2) merely a means of providing employment for education bureaucrats, or (3) meaningless gestures for school executives to feature prominently on their CVs. Or, most likely, a combination of all three.

Like Martin, I was bullied at school (sometimes quite seriously), but like the vast majority of kids who are subjected to bullying, I eventually got over it. Largely because I learned to recognise the sort of behaviour on my part that invited it (largely thanks to one sympathetic and wise-beyond-his-years classmate to whom I'll always be thankful). Now this is a key point about bullying, which I've seen confirmed time and time again in my own teaching career: most kids who are bullied at least partly bring it on themselves, and can do something about that. And the problem with the current obsession with bullying within schools is that every attempt is made to modify the behaviour of those doing the bullying, but no attempt is ever made (officially, that is - most experienced teachers are cluey enough to do so unofficially) to modify the behaviour of those who suffer it.

On the occasions when I've encountered bullying in my own classes, my usual method has been to have a stern word with those initiating it, and (if needed) a quick word to the kid suffering it, suggesting that perhaps next time he should not advertise his latest academic success quite so blatantly, or state that he doesn't want to work with certain kids because they won't be able to keep up with him, etc. These are social conventions which he will need to become aware of if he is to avoid being bullied for the rest of his life, and pretending that he plays no part in the bullying he is suffering - which seems to be the general attitude among educationalists these days - is doing him a grave disservice in the long run.

Gavin wrote:I think this terribly tragic story on the one hand says something about how cruel young women can be to each other, and on the other something about the way that the first reaction of many schools to bullying is simply flat denial: they do not want an unpleasant reality to affect the reputation of the school and therefore their own jobs, so they deny there is a problem and prefer to have children suffer. That is nothing less than heartless self-seeking corruption, and indeed teachers who do this might even be considered accessories to the suicide.


Gavin, I hope you'll pardon me for expressing myself more strongly than is usual on this forum, but that statement is plain ignorant and offensive.

Teachers are expected to bend over backwards these days to address claims of bullying. And given the number of kids who complain of it, it takes considerable discernment to decide which kids are genuinely worthy of further serious action and which can be reassured with a quick kind word and a pat on the back. If teachers were to spend the time that the anti-bullying campaigners would like on every child who claims they are being bullied, they would (a) have no time to do anything else, (b) often find out too late that they have been simply wasting their time intervening in a typical tawdry playground power-struggle.

Suggesting that teachers could be considered accessories to suicide implies the sort of abrogation of both personal and parental responsibility which is, for one thing, utter anathema to the philosophy to which TD has consistently (and, in my view, accurately) adhered.
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Re: Suicide of a school girl

Postby Gavin » 03 Nov 2013, 01:28

I disagree that children should be encouraged to act violently within the school grounds towards those who bully them. This is a bit like saying that it's wrong to call the police when you're threatened or harassed. There seems nothing wrong, to me, with a civilised pupil trying to follow the proper avenues - and the school is remiss if it doesn't tackle bullies. If the child were to strike out - break a nose maybe, knock out a tooth of the bully - this would be understandable, but I'm not sure the first onus is on them to do so. It's hard for civilised children (usually the ones bullied - because they are civilised) to do this, too.

If I understand you correctly, Mike, you just said that we only heard one side of this story, that this girl, Izzy, may have been bringing this on herself and that this is often the case when civilised children are faced with, and outnumbered, by vindictive and thuggish ones. Also that teachers are not responsible in any way if they know full well about merciless bullying and do nothing about it, even try to bury it. You're welcome to object from your point of view as a teacher but I don't retract my statements on those matters.
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Re: Suicide of a school girl

Postby Mike » 03 Nov 2013, 01:39

Gavin wrote:I disagree that children should be encouraged to act violently within the school grounds towards those who bully them. This is a bit like saying that it's wrong to call the police when you're threatened or harassed.


Yes, there I agree with you. Ultimately it's never the right path to take.

Gavin wrote:If I understand you correctly, Mike, you just said that we only heard one side of this story,...


Yes,

Gavin wrote:that this girl, Izzy, may have been bringing this on herself...


Yes (impossible to know from this distance),

Gavin wrote:and that this is often the case when civilised children are faced with, and outnumbered, by vindictive and thuggish ones.


Well, you're putting words into my mouth there. Sometimes the kids involved in bullying are not particularly vindictive and thuggish, and the most common sort of bullying actually starts out at one-on-one (with a group often coalescing around the one doing the bullying). And the children being bullied are not always particularly civilised: in fact, bullying often begins when they big-note themselves (to use a crude term) in ways which are not particularly civilised, but which their parents have implicitly encouraged.

Gavin wrote:Also that teachers are not responsible in any way if they know full well about merciless bullying and do nothing about it, even try to bury it.


You've completely distorted what I wrote there.

Accusing someone of being an accessory to murder/suicide is a very, very serious statement to make and you need to be pretty damn sure of your facts before even suggesting it. This is a public forum, people are perfectly able to read what you wrote in connection with this case. Are you really sure enough of your facts to be throwing out statements like that, even qualified by a "might"? I would suggest absolutely not.
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Re: Suicide of a school girl

Postby Gavin » 03 Nov 2013, 02:11

You've completely distorted what I wrote there.


Well, I didn't mean to do that, but I think you might have slightly distorted what I wrote, or at least reacted to something I didn't write, because I said specifically that in circumstances where teachers knew full well that bullying was occuring and did not nothing about it, and even deliberately buried it, then they might be considered accessories to suicide. That's my view - I think it's okay for it to be on here. "It might be considered" - by me to be more precise! Let's compare it with the case of the Bradford police who knew about the pimping of girls by Muslim paedophile gangs but did nothing about it, too. I'd consider them accessories to some degree also.

It's true I don't know exactly what happened in this case. That's why I put that remark in general terms. But it looks very unlikely to me that this girl brought that treatment upon herself (being called ugly, a freak and frigid). I think it's true that most decent and intelligent children are bullied at school - you hear about it all the time. I remember reading Bertrand Russell saying that he was very nearly driven to the point of suicide by it. They are the sensitive ones (which is often why they are bullied) so it's hard for them to suddenly start breaking noses and knocking out teeth, even if encouraged to do so by the teachers.

I simply said that when authorities deliberately bury wrongdoing for PC or self-seeking reasons they are to some degree responsible for consequences - nothing that new in that on this forum, I don't think. If they had tried their best to tackle it (which according to the mother - a teacher herself - does not seem to have been the case here) then they would of course be less responsible, if responsible at all.
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Re: Suicide of a school girl

Postby Mike » 03 Nov 2013, 03:09

Gavin wrote:Well, I didn't mean to do that, but I think you might have slightly distorted what I wrote, or at least reacted to something I didn't write, because I said specifically that in circumstances where teachers knew full well that bullying was occuring and did not nothing about it, and even deliberately buried it, then they might be considered accessories to suicide.

...

It's true I don't know exactly what happened in this case. That's why I put that remark in general terms.


I'm afraid you didn't, and that's where the problem lies.

Your words were:

I think this terribly tragic story...says something about...the way that the first reaction of many schools to bullying is simply flat denial: they do not want an unpleasant reality to affect the reputation of the school and therefore their own jobs, so they deny there is a problem and prefer to have children suffer. That is nothing less than heartless self-seeking corruption, and indeed teachers who do this might even be considered accessories to the suicide.


You see what I mean? You connected it specifically with this case, and topped it off with an extremely serious allegation. If you had said "whatever the truth of this particular case, I think that the first reaction of many schools...", I'd probably still have been a bit miffed, but not positively angry. I've seen the real-world consequences of accusations based on such assumptions, Gavin, and they're not pretty. At one stage they could have wrecked my mum's career, and she was the most dedicated, diligent and honest teacher and principal you could imagine.

I have some further points about the general issue of bullying and the hysteria that surrounds it, by the way, but I might leave that for another time.
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Re: Suicide of a school girl

Postby Rachel » 03 Nov 2013, 16:14

I've been a bully, just once, and but have been bullied many times as a child.

In all cases I don't think it is ever the victim's fault. The victim rarely brings it on themselves.

This brought back a memory of when some girls constantly picked on me when I was 9 years old. They were always wearing nice clothes while I was dressed in 2nd hand clothes. I got sick of the taunts after a while because I was never good at answering back. Ignoring them and hiding from them in the playground didn't help either. They would deliberately seek me out in the playground everyday.
One day after their taunts, I scratched one of them. (I had long nails.) It didn't stop them. So the next time I deliberately scratched one of the ring leader's brand new leather jacket. They left in a huff but I saw then that they were going to never give up so I went home and immediatly told my parents and they told the teachers.
Their form teacher then got us together and said that I had attacked them and that I was to blame for it all because had scratched their leather jacket. She gave the same spiel you gave, Michael, about victims often being to blame.
The little b***hes had manipulated her.
It really upset me at the time but at least it stopped the bullying. I forgot this incidence until this thread popped up.

I wonder if you, Michael have been manipulated like that horrible teacher years ago. Perhaps you are fed up of the extra toll of stress that sorting out these bullying episodes. Perhaps that is how those neglectful teachers in the newspaper felt.
That is understandable. Maybe I would think the same if I were in your shoes.
But it is still wrong to say that the victim is often to blame.

I agree with what you said about it happening in schools with more diversity.

It also proves that shutting a child up with many others it's own age for so many hours a day, for years, is an unhealthy way of learning.

The specific thing in that article about the girl being bullied for not wearing skirts short enough shows something a bit disturbing in that school and perhaps in wider society.
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Re: Suicide of a school girl

Postby Gavin » 03 Nov 2013, 18:24

Mike wrote:You see what I mean?


No, not really, if I'm honest. I think "says something about" could hardly be more vague. "It makes one consider that this can happen" - and indeed seems to have happened in this case. "Teachers who do this" doesn't even specifically refer to those teachers and "might be considered" was also somewhat reticent. I deliberately made my statements quite vague even though I think the school was probably to blame.

We can agree to differ on my terminology though. While we are not acquainted with both sides of this story I still think it highly unlikely this girl brought he bullying upon herself (I was as shocked by your claim about this as you clearly were by my remark that the teachers may have to bear some responsibility!). I also think it unlikely that the mother would be making these assertions about the school if they had records to show that, on the contrary, they had made significant efforts to try to stop this girl being tormented on their premises.

It's a common problem here in the UK for schools to turn a blind eye to bullying, for the reasons I mentioned.

As one commenter wrote:I am a teacher from Canada and have taught in schools in the UK for 12 years. I can say from my heart that school administrators pay only lip service to the issues of bullying. They do nothing about it.


Regarding being true to TD's position, we each have our own, but I think it's just as likely he would sympathise with the plight of this girl and suspect the school of incompetence or worse, as he would suspect the girl of bringing the victimisation on herself or the mother of exaggerating. We know what he thinks about how many such institutions are typically run - how people often protect themselves and turn a blind eye to wrongdoing. This is all conjecture though. There are no certainties from this distance, as you rightly point out, I guess we just have a different idea of what the probabilities are.

Finally I'm not quite sure how the MacPherson Report and TD's analysis of it does have much of a bearing on this story actually (and I thought that essay was one of his best!). That report came to two sinister conclusions: i) that the police are "institutionally racist"and ii) that if a person says they regard something as racism then it is racism. But here we have a girl who has actually killed herself plainly as a result of chronic bullying (unless were actually going to be skeptical about that, which I think would be a step too far). I think in such a case the school should be able to produce bountiful evidence to refute the mother's claims of inaction. Of course, nothing will happen to them even if they can't, but I'd personally be quite surprised if they genuinely can.
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Re: Suicide of a school girl

Postby Martin » 03 Nov 2013, 20:24

I think that one thing that this incident highlights is the role of social networking sites in enabling people to easily & safely attack others because they do not have to directly face their victim. I have just re-read the Daily mail article & the mother's remarks about ask.fm are truly shocking. The questions Izzy was asked have the ring of those of adult sexual perverts &/or paedophiles, seeing as how they are anonymous one cannot tell, which is the danger. I note that Izzy's mother is calling for this site to be banned. This echoes a similar incident of suicide due to participation in these sites here in Coventry, where the father of the victim also called for the closing down of similar sites. Are these people exculpating? Are they trying to escape blame for failing to police & control their child's online activity by making the website pay? In the Coventry case above the father was talking about suing the website. At least Izzy's mother made her shut down the ask.fm account. As for the text messages she received, how did they get her phone number? Why do parents let their children go unsupervised on line? Also of course the problem with mobile phones is that parents, once they are asleep do not know what their children may be doing with them, possibly texting their friends at 3 a.m.
This story of course has an awfully modern ring to it. Izzy's mother was a single parent. Where was Izzy's father? Perhaps if her parents had still been together Izzy's mother would not have had all her emotional eggs in one basket, she would have had someone with whom to share her affection & also someone else with whom to share her grief. Maybe this tragedy would not have occurred. Maybe I am being a bit idealistic here.
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Re: Suicide of a school girl

Postby Mike » 03 Nov 2013, 22:00

Well, as Milton Friedman once said, "I have ten minutes to answer, I wish I had ten hours". But I'll try to address the various points made.

Gavin:

Gavin wrote:I deliberately made my statements quite vague even though I think the school was probably to blame.

We can agree to differ on my terminology though.


I think we'll have to. I could accept your point about the various qualifications you made if your ultimate statement hadn't been so (in my opinion) extreme. (Just to clarify: "bearing some responsibility" is a very, very long way from being an accessory after or before the fact.) But we'd best leave it at that.

Gavin wrote:Finally I'm not quite sure how the MacPherson Report and TD's analysis of it does have much of a bearing on this story actually (and I thought that essay was one of his best!).


I agree, that was a superb essay. It has everything to do with this story. Consider the way, in the MacPherson report (as TD noted) undue weight was given, and undue credence was given, to the "evidence" of Stephen Lawrence's mother. Now she, like this girl's mother, is of course entitled to profound sympathy, but that does not mean that her version of events is likely to be a fair reflection of the truth - in fact, as TD pointed out in that essay, quite the reverse, for a number of reasons. You state:

...a girl who has actually killed herself plainly as a result of chronic bullying...


You are making a number of grand assumptions there. Most importantly, that no other factors were involved. It's more or less the same as assuming that Stephen Lawrence's killers were motivated solely by racism, or that the police investigating the case bungled it due to racism rather than plain incompetence.

...I think in such a case the school should be able to produce bountiful evidence to refute the mother's claims of inaction...


...and this is something else that TD addressed in that piece. The burden of proof is not on the school and the teachers, quite the reverse. However sorry we may feel for the mother in this case (and you'd have to be an emotional retard not to, of course), in that Mail piece she provided not a shred of actual evidence, not a shred, that the school had a case to answer. As a matter of fact, as Martin mentions above, if you read between the lines it sounds like the cyber-bullying was a huge factor in it (perhaps the major one) as well. And about cyber-bullying, there is very little schools can do.

I would just ask you to consider whether your reaction to the story, and the mother's statements, would have been the same if it had been a case (as I suggested in that other thread that I've started) of "student commits suicide due to racial bullying".

Would your reactions have really been the same?

Rachel:

Rachel wrote:I wonder if you, Michael have been manipulated like that horrible teacher years ago.


I certainly was a few times in my early teaching days (as every teacher is, no doubt), but I've been in this business thirteen years now, and I've become much more attuned to playground politics. As I said, it's a matter of discernment, and that only ever comes with experience.

Rachel wrote:Perhaps you are fed up of the extra toll of stress that sorting out these bullying episodes. Perhaps that is how those neglectful teachers in the newspaper felt.


How can you possibly know they were neglectful?!? That is based only on the statements of the mother, and as I mentioned to Gavin above, there is every reason in the world for her to exaggerate the wrongs that were supposedly done to her daughter from all quarters. Just because a story appears in the Mail rather than the Grauniad does not make it automatically more credible, does not make it automatically less inclined to push all the usual emotional buttons.

Much more to say, but duty calls me away for the moment.
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Re: Suicide of a school girl

Postby Rachel » 03 Nov 2013, 22:54

Well it sounded like the teachers were neglectful from the article. I am also biased from my school experience.
But I am basing my opinions on that one article in the Daily Wail , as I like to call it. You are correct that it is wrong to rely on just one newspaper article to tell all the truth.

You asked some good questions Martin.
I was also wondering where the father was in all this.
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Re: Suicide of a school girl

Postby Mike » 03 Nov 2013, 23:44

Now, where was I...

Rachel wrote:You are correct that it is wrong to rely on just one newspaper article to tell all the truth.


Thank you. That was the basic point I've been trying to stress in this thread.

Rachel wrote:You asked some good questions Martin.
I was also wondering where the father was in all this.


Agreed, I think Martin has touched on some important issues above. What always tends to happen, though, when stories like this come up, is that the first target of blame is always, always, the teachers. Even when, on closer inspection, the bullying is largely in the realm of text messages and postings on infantile websites.

But from an earlier post of yours...

Rachel wrote:It also proves that shutting a child up with many others it's own age for so many hours a day, for years, is an unhealthy way of learning.


It does absolutely nothing of the sort, and it's worth explaining why.

We are in the realm of "seen and unseen" here. Because cases of suicide are so high-profile, we are always inclined to extrapolate from one unfortunate student's experience to that of all others. What we see, in other words, is one student who has not meshed with her peers and has taken her own life partly (or mainly) as a result.

What we don't see is generations of people who have gone quietly through the traditional education system, gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to become productive members of society. This does not make the news.

We don't see millions upon millions of students who experience the socialisation necessary to cope with the unavoidable (and, indeed, desirable) social interactions that the world of work requires. This does not make the news.

We don't see millions upon millions of students learning to share, learning to take their turn to speak, in short, learning all the manners necessary for civilisation. This does not make the news.

And the objection to all this that "they don't do that in schools any more"? This is precisely because of the frustrations with traditional education that you've outlined with your comment above, that have allowed the fads of student-centred learning, constructivist pedagogy, the elevation of creativity over literacy, etc., etc., to germinate.

We are always inclined to judge on what we see rather than what we don't...and sometimes this gives rise to very, very bad policy.
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Re: Suicide of a school girl

Postby Caleb » 04 Nov 2013, 00:58

Mike: I mostly agree with you, but I think that where I disagree with you I really disagree with you. People can't have eyes and ears everywhere, whether teachers or parents. I'm not just thinking of myself as a teacher here. I'm thinking of when I was a child/student. Even when our parents and teachers really tried to micromanage our lives (which I think they did more than with most kids at most schools) all sorts of stuff happened. The irony is that perhaps the only way to totally prevent anything of this sort would be to be so draconian in controlling children that they would become completely maladjusted or go completely off the rails the moment they were released into the wider world.

I sympathise with Rachel's story about those girls bullying her and then manipulating the teacher. I saw, and was involved in, plenty of similar situations to Rachel's story when I was a child. The teachers often did get things wrong, but what I would say to Rachel (and others) is that sometimes it was the teachers actively encouraging bullying. Sometimes, they were slack or lazy. Sometimes, they were incompetent. Sometimes, they just wanted to brush things off so that they could get on with teaching. Sometimes, they acted on incomplete knowledge and only saw a bullied person lashing out in what appeared to be something completely out of the blue and they didn't see (or stop to investigate) what came before that (not that they would have necessarily been able to get to the bottom of it). I probably get my reactions to kids wrong all the time.

Why do I think this? Because I am aware that there are people -- children -- who are simultaneously much more socially capable than I am and who do not use that knowledge/power in nice ways. I don't think that people suddenly turn into who they are at the age of eighteen. World champion poker players, multi-level marketers, con artists, pick up artists, advertising gurus, used car salesmen, politicians, master criminals, etc. were probably already highly developed in those ways well before the age of eighteen. Could such people exist in my classes (now as a teacher or then as a student)? Certainly, or at least lesser versions of them could. Could they get the better of me? Undoubtedly.

Yet this is also why I disagree with Mike, and not just because there are plenty of cases where people get bullied for reasons beyond their control (which he would acknowledge, if he hasn't already).

I suspect that a lot of "not fitting in" is complete nonsense. I understand that to some extent, it teaches people about social conventions and so on, and those may be necessary for a society to function. A lot of it is just petty nonsense though, because humans love petty nonsense and it's a way to gain arbitrary status or power. I suspect that almost every group needs someone to bully as a means to manufacture social cohesion. I suspect that you could get a whole lot of people at the top of their social ladders and put them together and within a short time, someone would be on the outer for not being cool enough. You could get a whole lot of people who shared the same beliefs and put them together and within a short time, someone would be on the outer for being a heretic of some sort.

What does fitting in even mean? In the modern West it quite probably means spending hours every day sitting in traffic to go to a job that a person hates and that is sucking the life out of him, being grossly unhappily unmarried (and highly likely to get divorced) with estranged kids, and up to one's eyeballs in debt (but with a big car, a big house, etc.). Whenever most people (including me, to a certain extent, no matter how hard I fight it because it has been that deeply ingrained in me) meet someone who doesn't have a "career", a relationship or a lot of outward signs of wealth, the first words that come to mind are "loser" if he is kind of hapless or useless, or "weirdo" if he's there by choice. Bullying at some level is usually not far behind. In fact, I'd say that being a weirdo is even worse in most people's minds than being a loser because the latter at least implies some acceptance of the social paradigm, but just being unsuccessful at it. The weirdo, on the other hand, has rejected the social paradigm, which is clearly a threat to other people's own self esteem at some level because it says that they're idiots. Or maybe he is just being himself and the rest of the world is just being weird to him. I've seen plenty of that in my life: people who are just into their own thing and not deliberately trying to rub it in anyone else's face, but by their very existence, rub it in someone else's face, and so "bring it on themselves".
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