Extending Memorial Day with thoughts about minding your own business when another is being hurt. Silence in the face of hateful acts erodes your emotional fitness and colludes with the hate.
Emotional fitness thoughts
The powerful tend to gain power by being more willing to treat others cruelly. But as Anne Frank notes, the less powerful enable cruelty when they stand by and mind their own business.
EMOTIONAL FITNESS ThOUGHTS AND A TIP
The tip: If someone is treating another as you would not want to be treated, mind the world’s business, speak up, and act to stop the cruelty. When you act, stay safe, but act.
A Facebook post by Vanessa Hunt has gone viral. People are expressing outrage about how a beauty shop owner went ballistic because a two-year old was crying as his hair was being cut. Good for them. The woman who owned the shop is being boycotted.
Here is a recap of the viral post: Hunt and a friend were getting manicures, a toddler was crying while getting a haircut. The store’s owner descended on the mother of the toddler with anger and gave her a severe “tongue lashing.” The mother responded with “I’m so sorry, he is autistic” and left the salon with her son in tears.
Hunt concluded by saying, ” I walked outside to see the hairstylist finishing the little boy’s haircut on the lawn – The mom, still crying and cradling her precious son. We hugged her and cried with her too. It was so awful to see this.”
My question: Did Hunt speak up when the tantrum was happening? Did anyone else speak up and how with how much force? If only one or two patrons had risen out of their chairs and shouted at the store owner, I suspect the store owner would have backed down. I could be wrong, but in my experience most of us are too conditioned to mind our own business to confront another unjustified anger. Moreover, angry people are scary people and fear of becoming their next victims keeps us silent.
I think it might also have stopped the salon owner if a patron had whipped out a cell phone and announced “I am filming this.” Family therapists sometimes have families record their fights and doing so makes such fights more civil.
It helps to know that many well done studies show that even one person taking forceful action in situations like this gets other people on board. It also helps to know that acting and not remaining silent when frightened is better than doing nothing.
It is nice to offer comfort after the fact as Hunt did, but nicer to face down an abuser. My apologies to the patrons and to Hunt if they did confront the owner. I have been known to be wrong.
Staying strong is not easy. Be as kind as possible as you go about your daily life but be willing to speak and to actively fight small cruelties as well as larger oppressions.
As usual thank all of you for all you do to make our world better.
- Let’s talk about autism in public spaces (wdsu.com)
- Facebook post about Portage salon owner berating mother of autistic child provokes outrage (mlive.com)
GOOD NEWS: My eBook ‘When Good Kids Hang Out With The Wrong Crowd‘ will be a free download on Amazon from Saturday June 1st to midnight Wednesday June 5th. The free download can be read on computers, laptops and other devices using Amazon’s free reading tools. If you do download it, consider posting a review; I’d really appreciate it.