Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Pink re-think? March 27, 2013

Filed under: Commentary,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:40 pm
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My shirt is pink!

That means I think each day about those wimpy nerds

who cry unheard in bathroom stalls

and that’s not all.

A pink shirt proves

I’m sensitive, to those less competitive

in this dog eat dog world of grinding cogs in

mean machines that devour

gentle flowers.

I wear a pink shirt

not to subvert the status quo

’cause don’t you know,

I hurt , too.

I hurt just as badly as you!

Those Wal-Mart bodies overflowing with fat

riding their scooters

Are too much of a hoot to resist staring at

and sharing to all five hundred of my Facebook friends.

Ha! Look at that

pathetic loser!

Why respect his dignity?

Why contain my bigotry?

Hey!  I’ve been bullied, too!

I hurt just as much as you.

But that guy, seriously?

Why act so furiously at me?

Why are you lashing at my humour

I’m just laughing, I’m not some tumour

of society, I’m just a guy, so quit it with the anxiety!

Look, here’s a brilliant warden

who puts all his prisoners in pink.  What do you think

of that?  Anti-bullying, hard-labour, and bread and water.

I agree!  I’ll share that will Facebook, see!

A prisoner should not expect respect

while serving time for their misdeeds, not rehabilitation

a trade, or improvement in his station.  No, he should be humiliated

even if being affiliated with negativity destroys personal dignity.

They wear pink shirts and think of their hurts.

Just like me.

I think, in pink, that every day I have a choice

to promote or demote

to improve lives or remove lives.

To embrace what is different without mocking

to try talking with who’s different, in grace,

To show compassion, and kindness, and care

everywhere.

To keep my mouth shut, when I’m inclined to giggle

at the size of some butt,

not to repeat the smut.

Because, who knows?

Perhaps I’m peaking now,

and in twenty years,

my best behind me,

my butt expanding from hours at my computer.

When I want to shop I’ll be on a scooter at WalMart

still just as smart, ready with a kind remark

at bullies snapping my photo with their phone

mocking me, not knowing I was once just like them

condemned to future hurts,

by hypocritical displays

in my pink shirt.

 

 

pink shirts February 27, 2013

This is Pink Shirt Day, and it’s a day to talk openly about bullying.  In schools all over Canada, teachers and students put on pink shirts and take a stand against bullying.

It’s a day to confront victimization, and a day to talk about personal ethics amid hypocrisy.

When I ask a class full of teens whether they’ve ever been bullied, every hand goes up.  Every kid knows what it feels like to be looked down on, pushed around, and belittled.

Then I ask them, how many of them have ever bullied someone else, and the hands rise again.  Not usually all the hands this time, but awfully close.  95 per cent, say.  Let’s be honest, who hasn’t snapped at his sibling, made a rude remark about the kid who wasn’t cool, just so you’d feel a little better about your own status?

“Look! I belong because you don’t.”

So wearing a pink shirt is fine, and I’ll be wearing mine.  But I’ll be asking the hard questions.  Not just “Did you feel bad when you were bullied?” but “Why did you do it to someone else?”  “Why do you gain your personal power on the back of someone’s self-esteem? ”

Kids don’t get shaken down for lunch money any more.  I’ve never seen a kid shoved into a locker who didn’t request his friends help him get in.

Kids learn to bully.

We have role models after all, of what civilized behavior looks like.  We watch our political leaders shout obnoxious comments back and forth in the House of Commons and in our provincial Legislatures.

We watch talk show hosts encourage guests to jump on one another, as we gleefully anticipate the moment when all hell breaks loose.

We scream obscenities at rival sports teams.

We insult other cultures and religions.  Red, brown, black, yellow, white.  Everybody seems to have a colour that isn’t quite right.

We send soldiers to settle issues by fighting.

Why wouldn’t kids bully each other, when that’s what they see modeled every day?

So wear your pink shirt, but don’t think it’s going to stop anything, until the leaders quit using violence, obscenity and insult to get their way.

Don’t allow yourself to be bullied.

Take a stand and celebrate your unique place in the world.

Demand the respect you deserve.

Be proud you’re you.

.

.

Rather than feeling sorry for yourself, stand up proudly.

Don’t allow yourself to be bullied.

Take a stand and celebrate your unique place in the world.

Demand the respect you deserve.

Be proud you’re you.

Like Balpreet Kaur of Ohio State University, whose intelligent and courteous response to cyber-bullies taught them something valuable.  When Kaur was mocked for her facial hair, which she isn’t allowed to cut because she is a devout Sikh, she took the time to explain her faith, and in so doing, made the bullies aware of their small-mindedness. 

Don’t allow yourself to be bullied.

Take a stand and celebrate your unique place in the world.

Demand the respect you deserve.

Be proud you’re you.

 

standing up to bullies February 28, 2012

All around my school are posters advertising February 29th as the day students are to wear Pink Shirts as a way to take a stand against bullying.

We teach our kids that they need to stand up for themselves and for their friends when they are under attack.  We teach our kids that it is wrong to try to force ideas and opinions without reasoned discourse.  We teach our kids to show respect to those who are different from themselves, whether they agree with them or not.  We teach our kids how to negotiate a fair solution when they have a disagreement with their peers.

In light of this week’s anti-bullying message, watching the BC Provinicial government’s bullying tactics toward teachers is rather ironic.  This week they are trying to force teachers to accept an imposed contract, refusing to either negotiate or to have neutral mediator negotiate on their behalf.

It’s a  lesson in irony.

Teachers believe in equity.  We stand up to bullies.  We have to, in order to be role models for our students.  When we stand with our friends against bullying behavior, bullies back down.  Right?

My pink shirt this Wednesday, February 29th is going to have several layers of meaning, as I do what I can to stand up for those who are bullying me and my colleagues.

 

pink May 18, 2011

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:19 am
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I was just reading this lovely piece on the blog called, “Pink is for Boys” : http://pinkisforboys.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/i-would-just-like-to-say-that-it-is-my-conviction

It made me think.

I have been battling this for years one way or another. I knew a young boy who loved Barbies. We watched him playing with dolls and clothes and figured that was probably an indication of his sexual orientation, but since we didn’t care about his sexual orientation, that was no big deal.

It was interesting that when he finally ‘came out’ in high school, everyone just shrugged their shoulders and said, “Yeah. We knew.” He was bullied before he came out, but not after. When he could acknowledge the truth of himself, others were more willing to accept it as well.  Perhaps the bullies realised that before it was assault, but after it’d be a hate crime?

So it is with many things. If we accept other ways of thinking or being, we acknowledge the truth in ourselves as well as the truth in others. Acceptance lets pink into our palette and adds beauty to our sunrises.

My Middle School students get angry when they are challenged for saying “That’s so gay!”   One is forever saying, “It means happy!” She doesn’t like the response that then she should say, “This is so happy!”  Not accepting the consequences of their words is part of their age, and teaching them to show empathy can be challenging.  Their brains are only beginning to learn abstraction, and some of them are still so concrete it will likely be years before they’re able to grasp what they’re really saying. They’re ostracizing 10% of the population with that kind of remark, and they have trouble seeing why that’s a problem. I’ll keep working on it. Hopefully we’ll get more boys willing to wear pink for anti-bullying days, and more kids  of both sexes willing to discuss why they are so angry if other people are different from them.  Acceptance is a powerful thing, but for some, their own acceptance is so precarious that they aren’t willing to risk accepting others.

What do you think?

 

 
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