Okay, so. I’m reading a lot about how Dynasty Young‘s mom shouldn’t have sent him to school with a taser, generally because two wrongs don’t make a right yada yada self-defense perpetuates the cycle of violence blah blah I am a privileged piece of shit who can count on people to sympathize with my problems and either protect or avenge me should things really get messy etcetera etcetera some Just World Fallacy in there as well because if Dynasty got expelled then he and his family definitely did something wrong here or it wouldn’t have happened.
Here’s my deal.
Victim-blaming is siding with the assailant. Yes it is. Yes. It is.
Considering that the school board basically told Dynasty it was his fault for being bullied because he comes off as being too gay, I think they know why he was being bullied and what was happening to him just wasn’t important to them.
Now, it could be said that it wasn’t important to them because they don’t do jack about victims of bullying in general, which has been my experience. However, considering the victim-blaming Dynasty received, it doesn’t sound like the school board disagreed with the bullies’ opinion of LGBT people. They just might have liked the bullies to “express” that opinion off school grounds.
From what I learned about how public schools handle bullying, the right thing to do is always to tell an adult, but it’s not generally going to do any good. There are certain kinds of people whose lives are just plain worth less to everyone else, and members of those groups always learn where they stand sooner or later.
For the record, my parents didn’t send me to school with a weapon that was against the rules for me to have or that could be confiscated. Note that I didn’t say they sent me with nothing. My dad just understood that if I can’t count on administrators, then they must be assumed to be extra hazards.
If Dynasty’s mom made any mistake here, it’s in not treating the administrators as being as much her son’s enemies as they really turned out to be. Dynasty deserved that weapon, but it gave administrators the excuse they needed to help homophobic bullies make his life miserable, and of course they took that excuse and ran with it.
Still, giving them an excuse to help homophobes mess with a gay kid’s life doesn’t make it her fault that they did. The administrators are still accountable for the fact that they took that opportunity and used it to make the situation even worse by picking the victim of bullying to make an example of.
That is such a cynical way of looking at it.
I don’t mean to sound overly cynical here, because I am an optimist that we can make things better. The world doesn’t have to be like this. However. This is what the world is like now; this is what we’ve got. I don’t think Dynasty mattered to the administrators, because certain kinds of people are often treated as disposable, particularly for the sake of “keeping order.”
The difference between me and a cynic is that I know we can do better than this. I just am not so starry-eyed that I’m willing to candy-coat what Dynasty’s really up against and how long the list is of people who’d lose ZERO sleep over harm to this kid because of his orientation.
But! But! How can you say that adults don’t care? I’M AN ADULT! D:
I think so many adults want kids to trust them SO BADLY that they’ve forgotten how few adults kids can really count on. We’re not supposed to tell kids, “We can’t protect you so you’ll have to learn to protect yourself.” But um. For a lot of kids it’s true, and I think a lot of people reading probably learned that firsthand.
For those who didn’t? Take it from me. Failing to teach children the real limits of what they can count on adults for is not merely teaching a lie–it’s teaching a potentially dangerous one. There’s generally a point at which politely requesting help from the powerful but disinterested authorities fails. As activist type people (which many of my friends are) many of us are aware of it, but get squeamish about applying it to children, because then we’re including ourselves in the group of people that they can’t always depend on, and that hurts.
It’s still true, though.
I cannot romanticize my own younger years nearly hard enough to forget that. Maybe some people can, and anybody can talk a good long line about all of the things Dynasty’s mom could have done beyond getting the school board and an independent panel to review the situation, but it seems like everything on that list amounts to a polite request for justice.
We all know how effective those are.
The only reason to make those polite requests is to preserve moral high ground for later. Basically: Do it so that you can say you did. You will need to be able to say that later for when every adult who promised to have your back inevitably betrays your trust, because your only weapon against them is your ability to destroy their credibility. Talk to them first to set up the shot.
It’s not going to help, though. Maybe a lot of adults don’t remember that, but some kids don’t have the luxury of forgetting.