Monday, December 6, 2010



By Barbara Davis

My favorite t-shirt of all times is one that says, “You laugh at me because I’m different; I laugh at you because you’re all the same.” I’d love to have a million of those shirts printed up, and make them mandatory wear for everyone who bullies others because of perceived differences.

News reports in the last several months tell of gifted musicians, kids with a quirky sense of humor and kind teens who want to make a difference in the world, who ended their lives in order to stop the bullying. These talented and unique individuals were picked on and tormented because they were different.

Different isn’t better or worse; it’s just different. It is this diversity that makes the world such an interesting place.

Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein are considered to have autistic characteristics. I believe it is due to these autistic traits that they were able to make historical contributions in the areas of inventions and scientific theories. There are many other celebrities who, because (or despite of) their disabilities or differences in sexual orientation, national origin or religious views, are able to make significant contributions in health care, science, entertainment and other fields. “Everyday People” who are not celebrities also make significant contributions despite of, or because of, their differences.

My own experience with being bullied has taught me that the greatest bullying-prevention factor is self-acceptance. Once we accept ourselves as we are, it is easier to accept others as they are. In addition, insecure people generally pick on other insecure people. The popular girl who stood up for me in junior high definitely marched to a different drummer. This would have made her a prime target for bullying, except that there was something in her body language that said, “Don’t even think about it.” I studied that body language and tried to adapt it. I wasn’t successful with it until I embraced the unique differences that make me who I am.

I believe everyone has a responsibility to do whatever it takes to stop the prevalence of bullying in our society. We can start by accepting ourselves and others without causing harm to anyone regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or unique personalities. We can teach our children to accept others as they are, and we can stand up for those who are being bullied and don’t know how to defend themselves.

The world is a better and more interesting place because no two people are alike. We should all be thankful for that.

Get the T-Shirt Here: