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I think that bullying and racism go hand in hand. I think many people can see clearly that both have been increasing for quite some time. And while most people are PC enough to appear to not tolerate racism, growing numbers of Americans are shamelessly open about their racism.
One of the recent manifestations of blatant racism has been demonstrated by the Tea Party in the South, of course, doing such things as displaying a Confederate Flag proudly in a parade. But the rise in "Southern Pride" and the "Rebel Spirit," which has definite undertones of racism, really has been on the rise since the 1950s ever since Rosa Parks defiantly refused to sit in the back of the bus.
Right-wing Southern reaction to the Civil Rights Movement of the Sixties was blatant racism run amuck. And after Neil Young wrote the very popular songs Southern Man
, which were highly critical of racism and apartheid, there was a Southern rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, that reacted in defiance with their song, Sweet Home Alabama
Between 1973 and 2003 Lynyrd Skynyrd proudly displayed the Confederate flag in most if not every concert they performed, and by 2003, with former Texas Governor George W. Bush as President, the band was obviously riding high and encouraged many racists to shamelessly display the Confederate Flag -- knowing full well that it was like
thumbing their nose at the "uppity" black people who "didn't know their place."
Of course most Southerners would deny that these days, just as the Tea Party would deny their attacks on President Obama are not about race. But while they might not be just about racism and may be about many political issues, racism is certainly part of what drives them.
Such racism, like bullying, is driven by the egocentric, ethnocentric desire for power and control over the "others" -- other races, other religions, other nationalities, other cultures, etc. It is that superior attitude and mentality that is an epidemic that infects many Americans.
As I wrote in the thread on The Bullying Epedemic, this a very relevant and important issue, because bullying, threatening, intimidating, manipulative behavior is caused by an attitude and mentality that is very similar to the gang attitude and mentality.
From the schoolyard bullies to the neighborhood gangs to the gangs in the state legislatures and federal government, their leadership demonstrates a lust for power and control, believing they are "right" (and even "righteous"). They prey on the vulnerable and weak. They instill fear, appeal to the prejudices of their followers, and instill in them a group superiority complex while claiming everyone else is inferior, naive, and foolish. It's a dog-eat-dog world and it's every man for himself, after all.
To me the bullying epidemic infects everyone who has allowed their ego to indulge itself at the expense of others. The infection pushes the conscience aside and enables the ego to justify treating other badly because they "deserve" it. It creates Sociopaths -- and America is badly infested with them.