Just Speak Up

So you may have seen this Burger King bullying ad. If you haven’t take the time to watch it.

What facinates me are the comments below the video. Sprinkled in with your typical responses there are 3 basic types of negative responses:

  1. People who are mad that Burger King messed up the food (can you really miss a point this bad?)
  2. People who think the kid should have spoken up for himself
  3. People who think that doing something wouldn’t make a difference.

The first one is just…I don’t even know. The second two are interesting. I am pretty sure I would say something, but as a youth pastor I am wired to tell teenagers what to do. It is actually hard for me to stop doing it in public. But that is just me and my job. There are lots of other things that I tend to look the other way about. I think it is because there is this deep social contract that says “leave everyone else alone.” When you speak up to a stranger like that it breaks that contract. So people tend to think that those things shouldn’t happen.

The thing is often it is just a word that is needed to remind people what they are supposed to be doing or to defuse a situation. Simply speaking up and calling out bad behavior goes a long way (especially in the minds of a teenager) to helping them see their actions are inappropriate.

One thing I have noticed in this board game club thing that I am doing is that there are some people who a bullies without processing they are being bullied. For instance there was this guy who had a little leather bag he was carrying. It wasn’t a purse, but it looked like one. One of the girls we were playing games with looked up and said, “Hey! Nice purse!” in this very mocking tone. The boy defended himself said it wasn’t a purse, but you could tell that he had been dealing with that comment all day.

So I looked at the girl and said, “Why would you say that? Were you just trying to be mean?” She looked back at me genuinely perplexed. She had no clue that she had said something wrong. She had a thought and without pausing to think about how that thought made someone else feel she spoke it.

When someone is able to stand up to those type of bullies it makes them pause and think about their words at least for a moment and it gives the person being picked on an adversary and a feeling like maybe everything isn’t against me. So watch the commercial and practice speaking up for those who can’t speak up for themselves.

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