The below video from the Dutch band Delain is a lovely response to a terrible tragedy: the murder of Sophie Lancaster in 2007 for being different. It serves as a good reminder for those who stand on the edges that we are not alone.
I was bullied in elementary school and have felt that impact my whole life. I’ve seen some progress in awareness, but the bullying still happens. It still affects our children and our adults whether as dramatic as death through murder or suicide, or more subtly by affecting how we see ourselves and how we look on others.
I hope this video reaches the ears of those who are suffering or have suffered, and maybe it can change some minds who think bullying is no big deal.
The need for some to set others apart, to draw lines and measure value, worth, or humanity as though it were a limited substance designed for a select few, frustrates and angers me. Instead, we could be celebrating the amazing differences we all have, the unique elements in each of us that create a wonderful whole.
It takes listening to something like this to realize the concept of “other,” of outsiders, is a thread twisting through everything I write whether it’s someone set aside by birth, nature, or the deliberate act of another person. Look around you, and you’re almost sure to find people being marginalized for the big, noticeable things like size, skin color, and age as well as for the more subtle ones like speech variance, ways of thinking, or style of dress.
Together, we “others” are a billion strong. If you look close enough, we are all “other” in some way, which means none of us is “the one.” Science fiction has examined this truth more than once (Babylon 5 has an episode about this, for example) where the attempt to eliminate those failing to meet a perfect standard eliminates everyone. The only way to perfection is an acceptance of how we are perfect in our variance.
I went to find a news article on the murder and discovered Sophie’s family has set up a foundation for fighting intolerance in the hopes of preventing another such tragedy. I thought informing you of it would be a better end to this post than the news. You can learn more about the foundation here: The Sophie Lancaster Foundation.