Remember when I wrote that little post about How to Tell if a Kid’s Show is for Boys or Girls? Let’s expound upon that a little, shall we?
Rarely do I ever respond directly to the posts of other bloggers, particularly those known for writing linkbait posts they know will go viral. Just as viral as the “latest viral outrage du jour.”
But I’m calling Matt Walsh on the carpet here for his latest post in which he blames 9 year old Grayson Bruce for being a victim of bullying because the boy likes My Little Pony and wanted to carry a Rainbow Dash backpack to school.
While we don’t know that the school has responded directly to those who bullied Grayson Bruce, and can’t know that because of privacy laws, we do know that they responded to Grayson by telling him not to carry his backpack any more as it was a “trigger for bullying.”
They said “hey, kid, you’re bringing this on yourself.”
And Matt Walsh is okay with the school’s decision to tell the boy–a single boy–that he cannot carry his backpack anymore because my GOSH what was his crazy mother thinking!
I’ll tell you what she was thinking. She was thinking that she loves her son. That she loves her son for who he is and that who he is happens to be a boy who likes My Little Pony. She was thinking that the children who would bully her son over his love of My Little Pony might, perhaps, need to be taught that it’s not okay to be pint-sized punks and assault other children over a BACKPACK instead of telling her son to be afraid of those who would see him as different.
She wasn’t thinking that her son deserved to be shamed by his peers, his school, and adults who don’t even know him but spout off because “people asked me to weigh in.”
Stop victim blaming, Matt Walsh. Immediately. Stop it. And all the rest of you who agree with him, too.
I don’t even care if with your first breath you say “I don’t condone bullying.” The minute you add “but” onto that statement, you render the first part of your argument null and void.
Stop looking at victims like Grayson Bruce and saying “well, you know, if only you hadn’t….” and implying that what has happened to them is their fault.
If only they’d made a different choice.
Stop pretending like you don’t understand what his mother was saying when she made the analogy that telling her son to stop carrying his backpack so he wouldn’t get bullied is the same as telling women not to wear short skirts so they won’t get raped.
You’re smarter than that and I’m smart enough to know that without ever having met you. And if you aren’t smarter than that? Well then, wow.
Stop blaming victims of rape and bullying, saying they brought it on themselves, because when you do that, you’re telling the offenders that they did nothing wrong, even if they’re receiving punishment.
By blaming the victim or shaming the victim, you’re excusing the unconscionable action that the bully or the rapist or whomever perpetrated whatever on an innocent human being.
Matt Walsh said the mother made a faulty logical analogy, but not as faulty as the one he made in the first of his three points. (Because hers wasn’t faulty at all and his is full of holes.)
Telling a child not to carry a backpack to school is NOT AT ALL the same as telling any individual of any age to consider staying out of unsavory parts of town after dark or in broad daylight.
Because kids go to school with the expectation that they won’t be physically assaulted simply for wearing a shirt or carrying a backpack or liking whatever it is that kid likes. And that’s an expectation that we should all uphold for them. They DESERVE a safe place to learn. You can take another route to arrive at your intended destination. (Don’t turn this into an argument about private vs. public vs. homeschooling. That’s just silly.)
This isn’t about the school being required to protect the boy’s right to rock his Rainbow Dash. It’s about them keeping the school safe for students, and Grayson Bruce is a student. He didn’t assault other students with his Rainbow Dash backpack, but he WAS assaulted because of it. That makes him the victim in this situation.
I’m not even going to waste my time arguing Matt’s second point, that consumerism and commercialism are the real bad guys here since this backpack isn’t really an expression of who Grayson Bruce is, aside from quoting Matt Walsh himself.
“He’s just a kid and, for now, the show is just a show. It’s frivolous and unimportant.”
Matt goes on to blame the mother–since blaming the boy wasn’t enough–for allowing her son to like “girly” things instead of “teaching him how to be a boy.” But that thing he said right up there is the crux of this whole issue.
It IS frivolous and unimportant. For ALL of the kids involved in this. Or it should be. NONE of them should care so much that they would bully another student over it or feel guilty because they like it. Period. It’s a cartoon. This cartoon in particular is for kids. Full stop.
Okay, great, you wouldn’t let your son carry a pink backpack or play with dolls. You’d probably let your daughter play with toy trucks. But the thing about it is that I don’t care what you do in your own home with your own kids so long as you are loving them and raising them to be good human beings who love and care for other people.
But that hasn’t happened here.
Here we have kids who’ve been taught about “boy” stuff and “girl” stuff and who’ve been told never the twain shall meet no matter what and who HAVEN’T been taught that things in other people’s houses are different. They’ve been taught that what goes on in their house is what should be going on in all houses and with all kids and can you see where that creates an issue?
What you do in your home and what you teach your kids is your deal. But when what you teach YOUR kids interferes with what I’m teaching MINE? (Particularly if your kid turns into a punk…)
Well then we have an issue on our hands.
There is no excuse for bullying. There is no room for blaming the victim when children are taking their own lives because of the behavior they’re receiving from their peers. There is no way anyone will convince me that we should define gender roles for our children and then make them toe those lines. Not happening.
Sure, one kid watching My Little Pony can’t lead to the “utter destruction of culture and tradition.”
But being bullied for watching My Little Pony can lead to the destruction of that kid.
I’m just not okay with that.
Tuesday 1st of April 2014
I agree completely! I also think his mother is incredibly strong. It is very hard to make a decision that you know will cause your child pain, but she was brave enough to make the tough decision that will strengthen her sons character and ultimately make him a better person. Much better than those bullies. I don't know that I could be that strong. I hope I will be though!
Monday 24th of March 2014
i can't even believe this is a conversation that needs to happen, but thank you.
thank you for posting and standing up for grayson and for his mom.
The Adults Should Know Better | Learned Happiness
Saturday 22nd of March 2014
[…] friend Miranda wrote about this recently as well, with her piece Stop It With the Victim Blaming. In her piece, she reminds us that children are being destroyed by the kind of relational […]
Thursday 20th of March 2014
I don't like to say the word hate when it comes to people. But I really strongly DISLIKE Matt Walsh.
Thursday 20th of March 2014
As the mother of a little boy who loves My Little Pony, this hits very close to home.
I haven't read the post you're referencing and I don't think I will because I would probably become blind with rage. It's just absolutely unbelievable that some people would side with bullies rather than let a kid wear a backpack with his favorite cartoon characters on it.
Thanks for posting this, and I hope some of those people will read this and realize how destructive their narrow minded opinions can be.