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Archive for the ‘Retaliatory Violence & Suicide’ Category

Imagine a world
Where no one is different.
No one is different from you.
If your eyes are brown,
My eyes are brown,
And no one else’s are blue.

Imagine a world
Where we eat the same food.
Everyone eats tofu.
Forget a good steak,
A burger or cake,
We all have to eat soy-stew.

Imagine a world
Where we listen to music.
You and I hear the same song.
Forget the hip-hop,
Or raggae or pop,
It’s Beethoven all day long.

Now into this world,
Where all guys like girls
And all girls are gaga for guys,
Present a gay boy,
And a lesbian too.
It’s a shock and a big surprise.

But…

Imagine a world,
Where people can be,
Unique and the best that they can be.
Where the norms and rules,
Are only for fools,
Conforming is dull as can be.

Imagine a world,
Where he can love him,
And the girl can also love her.
It’s not my business.
Do you really care,
Which sex is anyone’s lover?

Life without choices,
Life without freedom,
Is to live a life as a clone.
To pretend I am you,
And he and she too,
I’d rather live all alone.

We are so lucky,
To live in a place,
And live in an era of choice.
Let’s embrace those gifts,
Avoid all those rifts.
And then we all can rejoice.

Topics for Discussion:

What is a stereotype? How are they perpetuated?
Define a “clone”. What would be the effects and end-results of scientific cloning of humans?
What is conformism and why is it such a strong element of influence during adolescence?
What reactions do sexual-orientations other than hetero-sexual provoke? Why does this occur?

Activities:

Students will research cases of gay-bullying and gay-bully-related suicides and share their findings with the class. ( Of recent note: Jamie Hubley and there are far too many more)
If a student you knew was suffering through gay-bashing what could you do as an individual or a group to help out?
How could schools/families/friends help prevent these tragic events?

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[first draft, needs work]

In the middle of the hall stands Big Bruce Halliday.
Looking very handsome as he swaggers to and fro.
Teachers all admire his charming personality.
They don’t see he’s putting on a show.

But it’s after school he wields his cool authority.
Intimidating, threatening until he gets his way.
That’s how Bruce maintains superiority.
Not a sole would dare to disobey.

Now meet Fran Wright, she’s as mean as she is cunning.
Just be careful not to anger her or make her jealous.
Next thing you will notice, she’ll be gossiping and shunning.
A schemer, she is cruel and overzealous.

Somehow grown-ups don’t notice her manipulate.
They don’t hear her insults or her taunts.
One small thing I would really like to stipulate:
This is precisely what she wants.

And then there’s Crystal Bergman. She is cool and so collected.
One wouldn’t think she knew what feelings were.
Oftentimes her actions go completely undetected.
But hurting other girls is kicks for her.

Why is it that grown-ups do not notice she’s malicious?
Why can’t they see the wounds, the scars, the tears?
Crystal’s very careful to be oh, so surreptitious.
The girl is so much more than she appears.

Take a look at that. There’s Old Bruce Senior.
Did you see him raise his fist and start to shout?
“No kid of mine cries! What’s this behavior?
You want a bruise to really cry about?”

Around the corner storms mean Mrs. Wright.
She’s yelling at her daughter. Fran is sucking on her thumb.
“Can’t you do a single thing right?
How could you be so dumb?”

Young Miss Bergman was once a happy girl.
Who knows what happened to Crystal?
One day her life just started to unfurl.
Eventually it ended with a pistol.

by Andrea Wilson

Topics for Discussion:

  • There are many types of bullies. Some are confident bullies with big egos and violent tendencies. Other are cold and heartless bullies who appear insensitive and vicious. Still other are social bullies who love to taunt and spread rumors and gossip. A bullied bully is himself a target and seeks relief from feelings of powerlessness by lashing out at weaker individuals. A hyperactive bully struggles socially and reacts aggressively to any provocation. How would you describe the three bullies in the poem?
  • A person isn’t born a bully. What factors can contribute to the development of bullying tendencies?
  • What is empathy? How can empathy help?

Classroom Activities:

  • In small groups, research news reports of some of the more tragic incidents of bullying. (For example: Columbine High School, Littleton Colorado, 1999; Reena Virk, Victoria, BC, 1997; Hamed Nastih, Surrey, BC, 2000; Dawn Marie Wesley, Mission, BC, 2000; Emmet Fralick, Halifax, NS, 2002)
  • As a class, discuss how bullying can result in retaliatory homicide and suicide. What could be done to avoid such tragic outcomes? Brainstorm a mission statement for you class to help address this issue.

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