Thursday, November 8, 2012

No H8: Eradicate Hate Purple Manicure

On a personal note: I directly experienced bullying as a child. I went to several private schools with very homogenous student bodies. My brother and I were the only Asian kids there (being half-Japanese). Unfortunately, we were on the receiving end of a great deal of bullying and racism that ended with my brother getting beat up and me not even wanting to go to class because of the things I was called. Things like "chinky eyes", "chop suey" and being told to "go back to Japan" were regular occurrences when the teacher wasn't within earshot or on the playground. Keep in mind, we were only in 3rd and 2nd grade when this started in a very "nice" town. We went on to another school after because of how bad it was and unfortunately ... we still experienced some of the same. And this was in an educated, upper-middle class area!

Now as an adult and parent, I find myself in the position of defending my child who has experienced bullying in school. This time not because of his nationality, but because he has some special needs. For those of you that don't know me super well, and that's probably many as I'm a fairly private person when it comes to my family, my son is currently undergoing testing (and has been for some time). We are close to a diagnosis, but that is far from the end of that journey. While he is very high-functioning and may not even appear to be any "different" from the next child at first glance, he struggles with many different skills that typical children his age do not. Children are not always forgiving of a child that asks too many questions or a child that cannot handle the busy, over-stimulating environment a classroom of 14 6-year-olds may prove to be. Just today he came home from his art class (he homeschools but attends music and art at a local school) and when I asked him how his class was he told me it was fine. I asked him if he talked with any of his "friends" (which is how we refer to his classmates) and he said, "No ... oh wait; one. He said, 'You're so annoying, would you shut up?'" I asked him why the boy said this and he said, "I asked him if he knew why a rubber tree was called a rubber tree."

Now keep in mind, this is a regular thing my son experiences and some kids take it much further than a single comment like this one. What they don't know, and what this child didn't know, was that my son gets very excited about specific topics and he perseverates on them and wants to know all about them. This morning he watched a documentary on rubber trees, hence the question he asked his classmate.

Our children learn from us. Yes, they make their own choices as they get older, but we set the tone in so many ways. Whether it's a single comment putting someone down "as a joke" or a methodical group attack on another person or group ... it's never okay in my book because what starts small has a tendency to ripple into something much bigger. How many times can someone hear "you suck" before it starts to wear them down? You don't know where they're coming from; what they've been through. Why would anyone want to be even a small part of breaking someone else down, especially in a day and age where things are far from easy for so many of us. If we as adults can't be civil and thoughtful with the way we treat each other in an environment like a nail forum or social network group ... how can we ever expect our children to treat each other with respect and tolerance in the real world now and as adults down the road?

You have to ask yourself--isn't the world already filled with enough hate?

Bullying is not funny. It is not cool. It is not right. And more importantly, it is not okay.
Most of us are, thankfully, residents of countries that support tolerance and many of our families have settled in these places simply for that reason. Generations later, it is our responsibility to perpetuate that message of tolerance across our new social platforms, including the internet.

As members of the nail polish blogging community, we all share a love of beauty, color, and lacquer. Other than that, we are remarkably different: from our race to our religion to our hair color...even to our polish application techniques. To marginalize anyone because of those differences is completely unacceptable and today I take a stand against that. I refuse to allow other people's view of "normal" dictate how I behave, believe, and blog.

In solidarity with a multitude of bloggers linked below, my purple manicure represents my proud commitment to the No H8 movement. Today, November 8, I dedicate my post to ending bullying of any kind and to encouraging diversity and imperfection among our colorful community
My purple gradient mani! Sorry for the car instagram pic, this week is eating me alive!


Please make sure all comments are appropriate and void of self-promotion such as links, blog URLs, etc. Thanks for chatting!