June 28th, 2012
06:02 PM ET

Opinion: 'Stopping bullying means liberation'

By Mike Honda, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Congressman Mike Honda represents Silicon Valley, California, in Congress. He is an educator of more than 30 years, the author of the landmark Commission on Equity and Excellence in Education now housed in the Department of Education and the Chair of the Congressional Anti-Bully Caucus.

(CNN) - My experience with bullying began with a presidential order.

At the height of World War II, on February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, incarcerating more than 120,000 Japanese Americans. My family and I were imprisoned behind barbed wire at the Amache internment camp in southeast Colorado. I was less than a year old.

Sadly, the internment of Japanese Americans spread fear and intolerance far beyond the wire and towers of the camps. After the war, during my early years of public school, I was often confronted and insulted because of my appearance and ethnic origin. As a result, I struggled as a student. I was shy to speak up. I lacked self-esteem.

In the 70 years since internment, our nation has made great leaps in providing reparations for the internment and ostracizing of Japanese Americans. But the mistreatment of people thought of as "outsiders" or "different" is a problem that has not gone away.

Today the health, safety, competitiveness and moral fiber of America is threatened by an epidemic that affects more than 13 million children each year.

These kids are teased, taunted and physically assaulted by their peers — reflecting racism, xenophobia, homophobia and sexism. This bullying epidemic also spreads far beyond classroom walls to strike countless communities from coast to coast in different social environments. Bullying is particularly acute in the elderly community. It is reported that one in 10 elders in America has experienced mistreatment in the past year. It has also been reported that for every case of elder abuse, neglect, exploitation or self-neglect reported to authorities, five more go unreported.

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Filed under: Behavior • Bullying • Character education • Policy • Politics • Voices
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. stopthesadistics

    Don't let those who are just like the children we see in this video stop you....please push forward and be a leader. Use your platform to shine a light into the darkness that EMPLOYERS are trying to intentionally cover.

    PUSH FORWARD AND PROGRESS A....DEMAND... FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY......AT WORK. PLEASE START THERE. PUT THOSE TO SHAME THAT WILL, AND HAVE BEEN TRYING TO COVER THIS ABUSE AT WORK BY SAYING "IT'S JUST EMPLOYEES BEING MEAN" OR "THERE IS NO ILLEGAL HARASSMENT GOING ON", OR "IT'S A PERSONALITY CLASS" AS YOU ARE CALLED OUT OF YOUR NAME. SLURS AND THREATS THAT THEY WILL GET YOU FIRED. OR OTHER DEVIANT UNBELIEVABLE DISRESPECT, DEMEANING OR BEHAVIOR.

    THIS IS HAPPENING AT WORK. PROVIDING A BLACK EYE TO YOUR HARASSER WILL GET YOU JAIL TIME AND -STILL– CAUSE YOUR FAMILY TO LOSE YOUR ECONOMIC STABILITY AND LIVELIHOOD....WHAT THEN DO YOU DO AS AN ADULT BEING PERSISTENTLY DISRESPECTED, HUMILIATED, BULLIED, MENACED, DEMEANED AND PURSUED BY ANOTHER ADULT WHO WILL EMPLOY THE ASSISTANCE OF A FEW OTHER VILE PERSON'S TO JOIN IN ON THE BEHAVIOR. WHAT THEN DO YOU DO WHEN YOU JUST WANT TO WORK, AND ARE GREAT AT, AND NEED YOUR JOB?

    THIS MESS IS HAPPENING JUST THE SAME AS WHAT YOU SEE HERE....AT WORK!

    HELP PASS HEALTHY WORKPLACE LEGISLATION SO THAT COMPANIES -MUST- DO SOMETHING. IF IT WERE NOT FOR IT BEING RIGHT THERE ON TAPE AND VIDEO FOR THE WORLD TO SEE WHAT IS CLEARLY ABUSE, THE SCHOOL DISTRICT, THE BOYS AND ALL ELSE WOULD HAVE DIMINISHED AND DOWNPLAYED THIS.

    BUT THEY CANT BECAUSE WE SEE IT AND IT IS GRUESOME TO WATCH...LIKE A MANGLED BLOODY CAR WRECK. BECAUSE WE ARE HUMAN AND WE KNOW ITS DAMAGING. I'M GLAD THAT THE MAJORITY OF US KNOW AND ARE SICKENED BY THIS. NOW....GUESS WHAT, THIS IS HAPPENING TO A HUGE PORTION OF THE POPULATION AT WORK.

    COMPANIES WILL TALK A GOOD GAME, WHEN THERE IS NO TAPE....BUT REALLY, THEY ARE DOING NOTHING BUT COVERING AND THEN RETALIATING...THIS WAS TEN MINUTES...ADULTS ARE GOING THROUGH THIS SAME TREATMENT FOR -YEARS! THERE IS NOT ANOTHER EQUITABLE JOB JUST WAITING, THUS YOU CAN QUIT. YOU MAY FACE FORECLOSURE AND A SERIOUS DOWNFALL SHOULD YOU STEP AWAY FROM THE ABUSE.

    WE NEED A LAW TO MAKE EMPLOYERS GIVE A ****. NO MORE HIDING OR LIES OR DIMINISHING....BECAUSE THERE IS NO TAPE.

    June 29, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  2. stopthesadistics

    Thank you...Let's begin with the workplace. Adults have to be the breadwinners and support our families.

    This abuse is rampant in workplaces and employers will not voluntarily do anything at all about it, but for retaliating against the target. This exact same thing happens within the workplace. The thing is, nobody is taping and posting it for all of the world to watch in disgust. There would be an astonishing disbelief when watching this -EXACT same thing play out in the workplace as companies diminish and deny and cover and then ultimately when you are harmed and diagnosed with PTSD...they find a way to discard you in retaliation.

    I watch this video and can tell immediately what the parents of these boys might be like....at their workplaces. The character of the families. THIS IS REPRESENTATIVE OF WHAT IS HAPPENING WITHIN OUR WORKPLACES.

    PLEASE STOP TURNING A BLIND EYE AND ALLOWING THIS TO HAPPEN. PLEASE PASS THE HEALTHY WORKPLACE BILLS SO THAT COMPANIES CAN STOP SWEEPING THIS UNDER THE RUG AND STATING THAT IT IS NOT HARMFUL. AS IF WE ARE ROBOTS AND NOT HUMAN BEINGS MADE UP OF FEELINGS EMOTIONS AND LIVING BY RIGHTS THAT ALLOW US TO EXPERIENCE JOY AND THUS IMPART THAT JOY UPON OTHERS. WE DO NOT NEED TO BE ABUSED -JUST LIKE THIS....AND YES......AT WORK!!

    Our economic survival tends to by in large create the stability needed to grow successful and pleasant, moral families. When the footing of economic and psychological safety is gone...the entire foundation is in jeopardy. The children that we turn out of depressed homes where parents have been bullied and abused severely at work tend to grow into amoral, unstable and depressed bullying criminal folks themselves.

    All very unproductive to the United States and world at large.

    June 29, 2012 at 8:08 pm |