Response to Miami Dolfin’s Incognito/Martin “Bullying” (umm, harassment anyone?) Case

The first thing that came to me when reading a blog post by my teacher and a CBS news article, each about the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin fiasco, was how the term “bulling” really should have been replaced with the word “harassment.”

It is easier to excuse bulling. Bullying is Suzy pushing Rebecca in the playground, or Tommy calling Jacob smelly. Bullying is what school children deal with. How could an adult not “man-up” enough to handle such a small thing?

Harassment, however, carries the proper weight that constant and unprofessional torment in the workplace deserves. Harassment is illegal. Harassment will get you fired. Arguably, bullying should carry this weight as well, but one must use the words that properly gather the feeling of a matter when the matter is at hand.

Now, when writing this article I quickly googled what people thought the differences were, but the arguments were weak. One article said harassment implies physical force, however, the legal definition does not specify that this is the only factor of harrasment.

Words are powerful. That’s why people are more willing to approve the “Affordable Care Act” than they are “Obamacare” despite the fact that these words mean the same thing.

It’s why the reproductive rights debate in the U.S. today use emotionally charged language like “pro-life” instead of “anti-choice,” and “child” or “baby” instead of “zygote,” “embryo,” or “fetus.”

In important issues, one must stake stock of the emotional weight, meaning, and nuances of language.

Creative Commons Attribution: winnifredxoxo, flicker http://www.flickr.com/photos/61056899@N06/

Creative Commons Attribution: winnifredxoxo, flicker
http://www.flickr.com/photos/61056899@N06/
Cue cliché picture of old fashioned weights. You know…for measuring the weight of words and such.

Then I got to the portion of the article that involved victim blaming and it was like a switch shut off in my head. How does one reason with such madness? With a person that is part of a culture being so repeatedly misguided.

I see no way that these people blaming Martin for the harassment have thought that out logically. Incognito was sending Martin death threats about his family, and was calling him racial slurs. What possess a person to spend so much of their time making anther human being’s life awful? There is literally no logical rational for that. There is no way that someone can say Martin was at fault without sounding like a horrible person.

Cases like this illuminate problems in other areas of life. It is a small step to take from blaming a man for his own suffering of racist and cruel harassment to blaming a girl for being sexually assaulted.

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3 thoughts on “Response to Miami Dolfin’s Incognito/Martin “Bullying” (umm, harassment anyone?) Case

  1. shainamariemahler

    I hadn’t even thought of it from the perspective of what we’re CALLING it – bullying or harassment. Harassment almost seems like a more “grown up” term, or literally what “adult bullying” should probably be called instead, because that’s obviously exactly what it is. Bullying sounds less serious, like you said (although OF COURSE it should be taken seriously), while harassment suggests that their should be punishment by law. And of course adults shouldn’t be expected to “deal with” and be strong/mature/whatever enough to handle harassment. What if we looked at sexual harassment the same way? I’d say that bullying really is a form of harassment, no matter who the perpetrator is.

    Reply
  2. isabelsilver74

    I hadn’t thought about it from this perspective either and i like how you go into the difference between bullying and harassment and how words can carry a lot of weight. Overall i found what you had to say to be eye opening and really interesting

    Reply

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