Monday, September 28, 2009

If This Can Happen In Middle School, There's Hope For Humanity Yet

There's a sweet ending to this Amy Benfer post at Broadsheet about gay kids coming out at younger ages than before (sometimes in middle school). From the principal of an Los Angeles middle school with a thriving Gay Straight Alliance:
“And the most amazing thing has happened since the GSA started. Bullying of all kinds is way down. The GSA created this pervasive anti-bullying culture on campus that affects everyone.”
You'd worry that middle school kids would just find something new to bully each other about, so that the total amount of bullying would remain constant. But no! Maybe sticking up for a group that is being bullied in a particularly visible way will generally disrupt the social structures within which bullying operates, causing kids to focus their energies on behaviors that are nicer and in all likelihood more fun. If this applies to the grownup world too, it would suggest that defending the rights of oppressed minorities can have a broad and beneficial social impact.
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