Yesterday, my younger brother — a junior in college — shared a video on Facebook of an interview he did for a new website. He talked casually about an experience he’d had — one I’d never heard about — with bullying. The most elementary point of his words was that everyone has a story, often one we’ve never read. We see the outside worlds of people’s inner battles — their anger, frustration, and sadness — but rarely do we get the chance to observe what brought people to that point. My brother’s video, below, reminded me of that.
The video was for a new organization called Bystander Revolution. I immediately visited their site after watching his video and was struck by the power in their simple message — that it only takes one person to stand up for another in order to break the cycle of bullying and unnecessary cruelty. I was in tears after watching their promo video below, which features an array of speakers, from famous celebrities to people like us.
Yesterday, a worker who helped me at the post office had a thick accent that made it difficult to understand what he was saying. Someone in line near us snickered as the worker fumbled his words while helping me send my package. Despite my silent rage, I didn’t do anything, perhaps because sometimes I feel powerless to change people’s thinking, especially when the cruel act can seem so small. But how many times had that worker been laughed at for not speaking fluent English? And more importantly, how many people have said anything to stand up for him? I know that much of the bullying I encounter is small acts of ignorance, but I don’t want that to inhibit me from letting people know that I care, that I hear them, and that I’m on their side. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Likewise, I want to continue to remember that everyone has a backstory. What we see is only a highlight reel. What really matters is what’s behind the scenes.