Ignorance is a bully

I’m not sure how to classify the “clique” I was a part of in high school. My high school was small; many of the cliques sort of blended together. The stoners were also the jocks. The popular girls who dated the stoner-jocks weren’t cheerleaders but more stereo-typically athletic “jockettes”. There were the dropouts, who supplied the stoner-jocks. The smart kids were usually the same ones who played soccer, rather than football.
I floated between cliques a lot. I dated a jock once. I was friends with all the soccer guys. I was in all the advanced classes. One of my best friends was one of the artsy girls. I was nerdy, athletic, and nice to the kids most people ignored. I guess if it was a census, I would have checked the “Other” box.

But ultimately, I was never bullied and I never was the bully. There were a few guys who played football who probably were considered the “school bullies”. But I usually told them off and made them look stupid when I could. If I made fun of anyone, it was them.

Turns out, there are bullies in the real world and they’re so much worse.

Maybe “bully” is the wrong word. And maybe I’m a little slow because I only just now figured it out. But I am disappointed; I expected better of these people.

I expected better from those who live in urban or suburban areas, who have been exposed to greater diversity than I was. I expected them to be more open-minded and accepting. To give the new girl at the office a chance. To appreciate her prior experience and to use her failures and mistakes as teaching moments. Instead, at the first wrong word or minor error they immediately write her off. They judge her when she comes into work on her phone speaking Spanish and they assume she’s doing it to show off. (She’s from Colombia. You assume she talks to everyone in English? Or, maybe, just maybe, she speaks Spanish so fluently she doesn’t give any thought to what you would think about it.) These people, they rebel against any change in routine, any attempt to break the monotony. They “hate reading” or “don’t own books” or some other phrase I’ve always found ridiculous. They barely even read their emails, only skim. Any knowledge of the world outside their homes or cubicles they only know from the insanity that is TV News. If they do read anything, it’s only from one of those “happy news” websites because CNN makes them “sick” or “sad.” They don’t understand how pronouns work for those who don’t follow gender norms. They’ve always been comfortable. They’re still surprised by interracial marriages and they avoid talking about or reading about anything controversial.

Once upon a time, I was blatantly politically incorrect and I was proud of it. Even if it wasn’t out of hate for any particular group, I was just in a rebellious stage where I didn’t care what I said. Then I went to college and grew up and realized I was a feminist and that political correctness is real for a reason. I realized how uneducated and uncultured I was. I was humbled by it all. Stupidly, I made the assumption that any other college-educated adult went through this same humbling process. I was wrong. Every day I’m surrounded by these people, these closed-minded bullies who attack anything out of the ordinary like a bunch of antibodies on a virus. These are the same people who judged my solo adventures. The ones who try to turn “creative brainstorming time” into the least creative process.

Maybe they just make fun of everyone and everything and it’s all in good fun. Maybe I’m just becoming too sensitive and need to relax.

These people who decided I was worthy enough to be part of this in-crowd used to be the reason I loved my job. They’re fun-loving people. But now, I’m just growing to hate them (and my job) more and more every single day.

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2 thoughts on “Ignorance is a bully

  1. Its a hard place to be when you are surrounded by people that stifle progression and growth in an environment where most of your time is spent. I know this frustration and it gets worse or better depending on the diversity of the group. Some people are disinterested in challenging their social norms and that’s just the way they are. They are non-conformists and therefore don’t welcome much change (especially if that change makes them feel uncomfortable). Its a deep theory behind this way of thinking and you should research it. Its intriguing! But either way, don’t let it bother you and make you hate your job. Listen to what your coworkers say and then use those ideas for inspiration to educate others on the same topics, maybe through your writing. Some people ARE ignorant…but some are uninformed. Imagine what type of change you can create by opening up a conversation for people that want to hear it! Maybe one day they will ask you for your input. And you can say “its funny you ask…I have a blog that addresses half of the things you talk about at work. If you want to know my opinion…go to this website.” You never know!

    Liked by 1 person

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