I wonder what it is that makes it so incredibly easy for us to dehumanize one another.
We can stare another member of our species in the face and feel no empathy, no relation to them despite our common DNA.
Through screens, from great technological and geographical distances, it becomes all the easier to detach and attack.
When somebody does something that doesn’t jive with the status quo, that doesn’t match up with our expectations for how other humans should act, we are struck all too quickly with the urge to make fun of them.
And bullying is a big deal, from what I can tell. Kids die, either at the hands of other kids or through self-harm and suicide due to psychological trauma they’ve experienced from being relentlessly picked on or attacked.
In general, I think people are fairly aware that bullying is not okay. Most would agree that violence and hate have no place in society.
But what about more lighthearted abuse?
Actively choosing to ostracize those who are different, for example.
Judging those we’ve never met, never talked to on a human level, based on a clip we’ve seen of them in the media or online.
How bow dah?
If that last sentence seemed a little nonsensical, I’m going to ask you to watch a little Dr. Phil before you continue reading.
What’s even crazier is that, over the past couple weeks, this clip has absolutely exploded online, becoming viral and triggering a versatile meme in “Cash Me Ousside.”
This is a kid, though. A child that actually exists somewhere. Who thinks and who is a human being.
Who has to wake up every day with the knowledge that the entire world is laughing at her.
I can’t even imagine how tortured of an existence that must be.
And it begs the question – is it bullying?
I mean, she appeared in front of a live audience on television and said the things that she said on camera. She lost the rights to her actions when she made that appearance, and people are free to share whatever they want on social media.
Not only that, but simply sharing an outrageous video clip doesn’t seem like a direct act of bullying.
Regardless, I feel for this kid. She can’t help the home she was raised in, nor can she help that her mother dragged her onto Dr. Phil.
But that 5 minute clip, and all the subsequent memes that resulted from it, are her legacy now.
And then there’s that Trump kid.
Barron is actually a cool name. It’s a shame that once he hits 18, his last name will be his undoing. The kid has done nothing to illicit anyone’s hate.
But people throw it at him, anyway. As if he’s not aware that his dad is a polarizing figure. He probably wants to play video games or sports or paint or whatever else it is that 13-year-old kids are into. He can’t possibly have a stake in today’s politics.
So why are we so quick to publically torment this human?
What is is, psychologically or biologically, that makes that our natural reaction to other people?
We get so wrapped up in our 1st-person experience that I think it becomes rather easy to forget that everyone else is the protagonist of their own story, as well.
It’s as if you see yourself as the only human in the world – everyone else is just a character.
Some characters are very important to us, and we keep them close. Others are disposable, or even threatening, and we keep them distant, dehumanize them.
We very naturally treat others as outside forces in our private universe, and we have to learn empathy, trust, compassion. It baffles me that we were built this way.
Anyway, I can’t help but to enjoy the How Bow Dah remix where Napoleon Dynamite dances over a trap version of the Dr. Phil interview.
But simultaneously, I’m seriously glad it’s not me who went viral for the wrong reasons.