Monthly Archives: November 2013

This is Halloween.

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Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

twin towers

Burning 9/11 Twin Towers

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Mom dressed her 7 year old as a member of the KKK because it was a family tradition.

Marathon victim

Boston Marathon Victim

These were all Halloween costumes this year. I don’t really think I need to explain how offensive these are do I?  Lynn’s 11/1/13 mentioned about focusing on stereotypes/myths linked to different ethnicities or cultures that could be potentially offensive. Have we really come down to this as Halloween fun?

The Boston Marathon Victim costume struck me particularly hard. One being that I live in Boston, and another that I am a runner, a long distance runner even. She did apologize, although I am not sure how sincere she was, or if she even understands how hurtful it was. “It seems as though my outfit was too soon, and will always be that way, it was wrong of me and very distasteful.”  Too soon? How about NEVER wearing something related to such a tragic event? Maybe, just maybe if all the marathon victims grew back the limbs they lost it would be. She did lose her job over it, and did try to apologize several times. I honestly do think she was punished enough for it and has learned her lesson.

However, even though I was furious about her poor choice, I am more disgusted with people’s reaction towards it. Death threats towards herself and her family. Really? Did this young girl really deserve death threats because she made a bad choice in a costume? You can read up about it here: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelzarrell/what-happens-when-you-dress-as-a-boston-marathon-victim . “Nice costume. Hope your mom gets cancer.” Have we become really this detached to humanity? Now she has become a victim of cyber bullying.  Cyber bullying is NOT OK! It has taken too many young lives recently. I’m relieved that some folks did try to speak up, including a fellow Bostonian.

Amanda Todd was only 15 years old when she took her life. She had been so tormented by cyber bullies that she thought it was the only way out. She had shown her breasts to a man online that she trusted. He took a pic and posted it online. As you can imagine it spread like a wildfire. She attempted suicide shortly after by drinking bleach, but luckily she was saved. Her parents even moved her to another city to help, but the internet found her and bullying started again even worse this time. She was not only picked on by the picture that was posted of her, but now the unsuccessful bleach suicide attempt was added. Sadly, she made sure there wouldn’t be a third attempt and hung herself. She made a video that told her story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej7afkypUsc What’s awful is that people are still making fun of her to this day. It’s known as “Todding”.  Social media seems to be desensitizing us which is a very scary thing.

Sadly, Amanda is not the only one that thought suicide was the only way out:

  • Tyler Clementi, 18 yrs old, was cyber bullied because he was gay. His college room mate spied on him by leaving a webcam on in their dorm room while he was on a date. His room mate had multiple viewing parties with other students. Tyler jumped off the George Washington Bridge.
  • Ryan Hlligan, 13 yrs old, was cyber bullied because he had a learning disorder and a passion for the arts. His best friend spread a rumor about him being gay. He hung himself.
  • Megan Meier, 13 years old, was cyber bullied because she had ADD and weight issues. She hung herself.
  • Rehtaeh Parsons, 17 yrs old, was cyber bullied because of pictures that were taken of her being ganged raped while drunk. She was even throwing up in the photos, yet everyone called her a slut/whore. She hung herself, but was in a coma at first. Her family had to make the hard decision to take her off life support.
  • Audre Pott, 15 yrs old, just like Rehtaeh Parsons, she was ganged raped while drunk and photos were taken. She hung herself.
  • Jamey Rodemeyer,  14 yrs old, cyber bullied because he was bisexual. He was an activist against homophobic bullying and even made a video for the “It Gets Better” project. Sadly, he hung himself.

I should mention that all families above while mourning the loss of a loved one, were also cyber bullied. Death is apparently not good enough for some people. I’ve been reading a lot of “I’m glad he/she finally did it, he/she deserved it.” type  stuff. So flashing your breasts online or liking someone of the same sex is enough to get the death penalty, yet bombing a city or shooting an innocent black person is just considered funny. Now that’s truly terrifying.

If you or someone you know is a victim of bullying and/or cyber bullying, there is help! Please visit:

http://www.stopbullying.gov/

http://www.itgetsbetter.org/

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

-Deena

Amanda Todd.

Amanda Todd. 15 yrs old. Cyber bullied for showing her breasts online once and hung herself.

Thinking about Costumes

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    Seeing so many posts and articles about the importance of not wearing potentially offensive Halloween costumes (mainly, those that perpetuate stereotypes/myths linked to different ethnicities or cultures). Being so vigilant about the Halloween masks we wear is masking the real problem, isn’t it?I understand the good intentions behind it, but I’m wondering whether this means people shouldn’t dress as nuns any more, or as zombies or ghosts (which could offend someone who has just lost a loved one). Shouldn’t we extend this concern not to offend to cover not only certain ethnicities but to anyone who might be offended or hurt by a costume? Are witch costumes out, in deference to those who currently practice witchcraft? Nurse costumes? Is almost any costume – which often portrays something that the wearer is not usually identified with – potentially offensive to those who may identify with what is being caricaturized in the costume?

    Maybe so. Maybe we should rethink all these costumes. I’m also thinking that this frenzy of articles and posts may belie a misplaced focus on not having the *appearance* of offending or being insensitive to others, without a corresponding deep questioning or examination of our fundamental beliefs or prejudices. I don’t think the whole costume thing would be an issue if we didn’t all participate in a deep, underlying culture of prejudice and racism. That’s what we need to take a much closer, longer look at – starting with our own unconscious beliefs – and not only pointedly ask whether a particular costume that we might wear one day out of the year might be offensive or hurtful.

    Happy Halloween, everyone! : ) Just wanted to get that off my chest, wondering what other people think, realizing just now that this is just the consequence of fb and social media, and – oh, in case you hadn’t guessed – having a Mega-Fit of Procrastination…!

    -Lynn