Today is International Stand Up to Bullying Day. The global movement encourages all of us to send a loud, non-confrontational message of resistance to bullies; identify ourselves to victims as a source of support; and draw attention to the effects of bullying to stimulate passive bystanders into action (from their website). The movement calls for a pledge and the wearing of a pink t-shirt. More than 2,200 schools, work places, and organizations participate in the visual movement.
According to the program’s website, the use of the color pink is “based on a campaign started by Travis Price and David Shepherd, two senior students who took a stand against a freshmen student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt.” In schools, pink can often be a simplistic sign of effeminacy in boys (and sometimes adults too). Try wearing pink and see the reaction you get. If a sea of men wear pink, how can one person bully them?
It is a simple movement, but I think it raises awareness at schools, where bullying is most prevalent. However, I dare say, this week, we have seen in American and abroad, real life protests to stop bullying: the teachers who are resisting oppression in Wisconsin and other states; the Libyans who are demanding their freedom; and finally real efforts in Hawaii and Maryland to give equal marriage rights to all people, a right to which Mr. Obama has stepped closer by calling the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. These are real examples to young people that social bullying and institutionalized oppression can and must be stopped.