Jada Pinkett-Smith: She posts a mom’s-eye view of bullying young stars
Jada Pinkett-Smith aired her feelings on Facebook about the media's treatment of young stars like Justin Bieber and Quvenzhane Wallis. Now the media says she's an overprotective Mama Bear.
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Pinkett-Smith has clearly met and exceeded her personal limit as a human (not a mom) for the mean-spirited way in which some online infotainment media attack young celebrities with the kind of ferocity that generates lots of page views by our kids and lots of snarky thinking too.Skip to next paragraph
Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.
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Therein lies the lesson in the actress’ posting. Our children may never become celebrities, but they are all exposed to the constant barrage of unfiltered, cyber nastygrams posted by some in the entertainment media. Their unchecked bullying of celebrities influences kids to bully the non-famous in much the same way.
When The Onion posted an Oscar night tweet aimed at Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis, 9, using what I consider to be about the vilest slur on the female anatomy, their social networking skills jumped the mama shark and that’s a pretty dangerous stunt indeed.
The actress asks the same questions we, as parents, rhetorically ask schoolyard bullies: “Do we feel as though we can say and do what we please without demonstrating any responsibility?” In Pinkett-Smith’s anti-bullying manifesto she adds, “…simply because they are famous?”
“Why can't we congratulate them for the capacity to work through their challenges on a world stage and still deliver products that keep them on top?” Pinkett-Smith asked on Facebook. “We all know how hard it is to keep our head above water, even in the privacy of our own homes let alone on the world stage.”
The reason a bully can’t congratulate people who work through their challenges is because the challenges often come from the bullies themselves.
Let me pass what I once did when people were throwing stones at my autism spectrum child, both literally and figuratively. I picked up one of those rocks and took it home with us. Then I wrote a little thank you card and had my son give it back to one of the kids the next day in front of the boy’s parents who had watched the bullying and done nothing.
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The note we gave back with the stone read: “Thank you for being my rock, the one in my road. The one I had to dig deep to get past. The one who taught me to climb in order to get over you. The one who marked my body and my way. This is so neither one of us forgets.”
I think that some of the stone throwers need to be sent this note and perhaps a pebble as an office paperweight to remind them just what they mean to us. My guess is that some of them would get so many that perhaps they would pave a different, better path to take – one leading to higher ground.