As I become known as an anti-bullying advocate, people send me articles and videos that they think may interest me. This week a friend sent me this video clip posted by a mother. The video is of her son crying after he was targeted at school because he has Achondroplasia, a genetic disorder. Be warned, the mother uses course language and the video is upsetting to watch; at least for me it was. Here is the video.
For those unfamiliar with Achondroplasia, it is a genetic disorder that results in dwarfism. In those with the condition, the arms and legs are short, while the torso, or trunk, is typically of normal length. Those affected have an average adult height of around 4 ft (131 cm). Other features include an enlarged head and prominent forehead. The disorder typically does not affect intelligence.
In a Huffpost article about the video called, Mum Shares Heartbreaking Video Of 9-Year-Old Son Traumatized By Bullying, Quaden’s mother describes the relentless bullying experienced by her son every day. The family, who are Aboriginal Australian, live in Queensland, Australia. The mother says in the video :
“I’ve just picked my son up from school, witnessed a bullying episode, rang the principal, and I want people to know – parents, educators, teachers – this is the effect that bullying has…Every single… day, something happens. Another episode, another bullying, another taunt, another name-calling…Can you please educate your children, your families, your friends? This is what bullying does.”
Her son repeatedly cries out that he wants to end his life in the video.
Here is a NBC news clip about the video.
The good news is Quaden and his mother have been flooded with support after live-streaming the heartbreaking video of her nine-year-old son’s misery because of bullying. In fact, one celebrity with dwarfism started a Go Fund Me page to send Quaden to Disneyland, and the page has raised over $300 000. That goes to show the number of wonderful people on our planet (see Australian boy in bullying video receives global support).
What shocks me is this a story that needs to be heard, yet people question and even attempt to discredit the story. Some on the Internet questioned Quaden’s age. Why, I don’t know. Some claimed the mother of Quaden was financially benefiting from the video. The most noteworthy was the story was twisted into a conspiracy theory that Quaden was an 18-year-old scammer (see Conspiracy Theory). Why the negativity?
In my author talks, I define bullying as “when you keep picking on someone because you think you’re cooler, smarter, stronger or better than them.” These bullies—hurting people who are taking their pain out on Quaden—see him as physically different from them, so I can only speculate that they feel entitled to harass him. They are obviously insensitive, uncaring individuals who fail to understand how hurtful their bullying is. When bullying causes someone to contemplate suicide, it is heartbreaking.
The fact is, we are all members of the human race and therefore deserve to be treated accordingly. It reminds me of Act 3, scene 1 of the Shakespearean play, Merchant of Venice, where Shylock, a Jew, confronts two Christians. Shylock says:
“I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, actions, passions…warm’d and cool’d by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die…”
Every human being has feelings, needs, and desires. We all want to be happy, feel loved and respected. We are the same physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. Size, shape, and colour does not matter. Why are people so intolerant of differences? I don’t get it. Talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres says:
“We focus so much on our differences, and that is creating, I think, a lot of chaos and negativity and bullying in the world. And I think if everybody focused on what we all have in common – which is – we all want to be happy.”
She is right! As she says, “…if everybody focused on what we all have in common – which is – we all want to be happy” then bullying would decline; maybe even stop. I’ve said in previous posts, there is a very simple solution to bullying, and that is following the Golden Rule which says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Every major World Religion and philosophy promotes this rule. If only people would start following it.