Thursday, June 30, 2011

Anti Bullying Status Response

I came across Facebook's anti bullying status a few times. Goes along the lines of: "People look down at a girl who has a baby at age 14 not realizing she was raped. People hassle a person who's overweight not knowing his obesity is due to illness."

In other words, don't judge and perhaps more importantly, don't assume. Two values I appreciate though admittedly the judging part, well, I'm working on that in my personal life. Professionally I do a pretty good job of keeping myself in check (and have coworkers who volunteer to do that).

On the other hand, something about this status doesn't quite work. Perhaps it's because a short message may sometimes be misunderstood. Or maybe due to my social work mindset I think, what about...

Let's say there's a 14 year old girl who's pregnant because she had sex with multiple partners without protection. She was trying to get pregnant. Or a person is obese because he eats a lot. Let's say he enjoys it too. Are these folks less deserving of kindness or understanding?

I do get the status' deeper meaning: Don't judge. Presume that people's situation is not as simple as it seems. Yet it also implies that one behavior is more rewarding of compassion than another. Granted we do that all the time -- we make judgments based on context. But it seems to defeat the purpose of this message which is to act compassionately.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your statement. Sadly, social workers and people have a value system of who deserves respect and dignity and even services and who doesn't. I used to work as a community organizer for a rape crisis center and people would be like, "Alright, I want this money to go to all the good girls who are attacked by strangers" excluding people who may be abused by family members or who may have substance abuse issues and are then assaulted. I can't help being judgemental either. One of the things I'm trying to do these days, besides "stop judging, NOW" lol is saying, "how can i learn from this story" as opposed to making people to be bad or good.

great dissection of a facebook status. :)

Anatolia said...

Thanks for reading and commenting Mozart! That's a tough experience you share.

A lot of us have values we project or expect to find in other people. I do expect more of social workers: that because of their education and work with people with backgrounds of hardship that they behave more compassionately towards others.

Compassion doesn't mean not holding others accountable for their actions but it does mean sensitivity.