In light of the student body’s snobbish response to the most recent installment in a series of “respect” videos and sermons, I would like to highlight a few “facts of life” that I like to view as obvious.
After your days in school, you will not have a bodyguard disguised as Ms. Satterwhite to look over your shoulder, batting away your bad habits and protecting you from bullies. You will have the freedom to blab on your cell phone whenever you please, and you will be faced with the opportunity to cheat, whether you are lying to a judge or simply “forgetting” to stamp your time card. People will call you names and they will punch you in the nose, but detention will not be issued. Murderers will be deemed innocent and be living right here in the United States will die of disease and hunger. It happens today, and it will continue to happen when we are all in our fifties.
However, these few details do not apply to every person in California or even Africa, let alone the entire population of the world. Indeed genocide, torture and other horrible deeds are committed, but as a student you must remember that the other millions of people on this earth, though not affected by issues so dramatic, are still dealing with problems none the less.
To me, the simple video/discussion combination that interrupted our precious Tutorial last Tuesday was not a “waste of time.” nor a laughing matter. Entitled “The Power of Words,” the video highlighted everyday acts of disrespect that have a painful impact upon their victims. A seemingly harmless comment such as a casual “Hey, bitch!” between friends, though in definition the same as the Holocaust, is still hurtful to the “bitch” in question. For me, the session accomplished this effectively, allowing us to see the meaning in our everyday slip-ups, and especially those that have grown into habit.
We are meant to be persuaded by the video, not terrorized by horrible stories of anguish and pain. If the school system has indeed “desensitized” us through biased, terrorizing literature and history, then we should view the exercise as an eye-opener to our nonchalant acts of racism, sexism and bullying. It is not the administration’s job to be our security net or our “Mommys.” We should not unleash our pain and anger toward them for not protecting us more, or for not punishing the bully who called us names. Through schooling and socialization, we must learn to deal with our emotional problems ourselves rather than expecting someone else to do it for us.