October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. This campaign was founded in 2006 by PACER’S National Bullying Prevention Center to raise awareness for bullying prevention. Schools, organizations and celebrities all participate in a month full of activities to stop this growing concern in our nation. According to statistics, 1/4 of youth will be bullied this school year. Bullying comes in a variety of forms. It’s not just the big, mean kid pushing on the quiet kid with glasses.
Bullying encompasses a wide range of behaviors. Most schools have their own definition of what bullying is, while each state will have a legal definition of what bullying means to them. Most of the definitions contain similar characteristics such as:
- Harming another person physically or emotionally
- The person being harmed has the inability to defend themselves or cease the behavior
- When the person doing the bullying has more social, physical or emotional power over the target
- Repeated behavior (Although, it can occur in singularly)
Kyla M. Gordon, M.Ed, Clinical Therapist from Chicago, talks to us about bullying prevention in the African American community. Ms. Gordon has over five years experience with servicing children, adolescents and adults with mental/behavioral health impairments.
BlackDoctor.org: In Black culture we like to rag, fry or plain and simple talk about each other. Oftentimes it’s innocent, but is this considered bullying?
Kyla Gordon: I wouldn’t call that bullying unless there is an imbalance of power, someone using their intelligence, size, age, experience or even gender to control or intimidate the “targeted” person.
BlackDoctor.org: Is bullying something that only nerds or the un-cool people go through?
Kyla Gordon: There is no specific label of people or “face” of someone being bullied. If a person believes they are being exposed to negative actions by one or more individuals and continues to intrude upon you aggressively, thus making you uncomfortable, than that is bully behavior.