A Rutgers University freshman, distraught over a gay tryst splashed live across cyberspace by his roommate, plunged to his death from the George Washington Bridge. “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry,” read the final Facebook status from Tyler Clementi, just 72 hours after his private life suddenly became public knowledge.
The story has, rightfully, shaken the nation. Daniel Radcliff, our Harry Potter hero, told MTV over the weekend:
“We have a responsibility to be better to each other, and accept each others’ differences regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ability, or religion and stand up for someone when they’re bullied.”
Amen, Daniel! The news struck us to speechlessness, so perhaps that’s why we couldn’t quite comment on the situation until today. We do have a responsibility to be good and do good to all and spread that goodness to prevent teens like Tyler from resorting to suicide for being something so normal. We do have a responsibility to stand up for another!
While it’s awesome celebs can come out and purport the cause, it’s also a shame to see so many people (e.g. adults in mass media) misreading the situation. USA Today asked “Has social networking gone too far?” We watched CNN anchors blaming the internet for “dehumanizing” each other so that we can’t possibly know what’s right or wrong anymore. Others all claim cyber bullying is the reason. In short, people are pointing to the “cyber world” as the perpetrator.
Seriously, people? Placing blame on the internet is NOT right. It’s not the internet that’s evil. It’s intolerance, hate, bigotry and amoral values of people – of the human perpetrators. Not random IP addresses as faceless as social security numbers. And, the two bullies weren’t even anonymous as so much cyber-hate is. It was pure lack of judgment and consideration of another human’s feelings. These things existed before the internet — but it’s our job as gURLs, now, more than ever, to share that the internet does not spread hate or dehumanize – in our case, as gURLS, it brings us together.
What are your reactions? Has your school responded? Have you ever been a victim of bullying? Awful “pranks?” How did you deal? What advice do you have for other gURLs who could be in the same situation as Tyler was?
Share your thoughts and stories here, because we know that, at least on this website, the internet is where we can make the world better.
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