October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying is an obvious fact that there are some very serious problems that have surfaced as a result of bullying, especially as it affects the Black child, particularly when the bullying is racism. Racism is the epitome of bullying. Bullying greatly affects the ability of the child-bullies and their victims alike. It impedes academic progress, affects their well-rounded social and emotional development. This piece will look at some common issues as it relates to bullying and the ways a parent can help their child when they are victims of such acts.
The cyber-bullying challenge
Cyber bullying is regrettably on the increase and this has become a sore spot for many Black children. An October 2014 study by the Pew Research Center states that 18 percent of all Black children who use the Internet have been negatively targeted. There have been cases of stalking, threats of physical harm, sexual harassment and other severe forms of harassment. Another 22 percent have suffered from less severe attacks like name calling or being embarrassed.
The National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice found that over 2 million black kids had experienced cyber-bullying (based on its 2010-2011 report). The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, 2013 survey showed that 15 percent of Black high school students were bullied electronically. The Online College report states that one in five cyber-bullied kids think about suicide while one in 10 actually attempts to commit suicide. These reports have been strongly linked to racial discrimination and the apathy with which society has risen to fight this scourge.
“8 percent of all Black children who use the Internet have been cyber-bullied.”
What schools got to do with this?
Bullying in schools has caused a host of negative physiological effects on the Black child. It affects their academic performance and alters their perception of school. Sadly, the societal norms and stereotypes can make schools unsafe for Black children. This challenge has been discovered to be rooted in the presence of racism in society rather than being the general climate in most schools. Finding the right ways to reduce bullying in schools or protect the Black child is becoming increasingly complex.
“Racism is the epitome of bullying.”
It is time to ask the right questions
In order to fully understand the effects of bullying on the Black child, it is important that administrators are called to action and time to ask some hard questions so we can fully get to the root of this menace.
- Who are those executing these acts?
- Who are the victims?
- Why is the Black child the target of their bullying acts?
- What are the ways in which the Black child is bullied?
- What is the solution to the issues of racism and the bullying of the Black child?
Most Black children who are victims of bullying often suffer from a lifetime of psychological scars. They also face a long run with poor academic performance. Bullied Black students are more likely to fall behind, miss school or eventually drop out.
What can you do as a Parent?
Parents or guardians of Black children can play a huge role in ensuring that they are protected from bullying and harassment.
- Alert school administrators immediately.
- Teach your child that they are unique and can be all they are destined to be.
- Know that the goal of the bully is to create negativity. Build your child’s positive self-esteem and help your child to rise above this scourge.
- They can teach their children values that help to break long-held racial and ethnic stereotypes.
- Speak with the bully’s parents.
- Remind your child that bullies try to break down others so they can feel good about themselves.
- Approach the Home and School Association or Parent Teacher Association about creating a Bully-Free School Zone, including having staff who are trained to intercept and protect victims.