“No Name-Calling Week” intensifies frequency and pain of insults.
It has been a number of years that the fourth week of January has been the official No Name-Calling Week. In case no one has noticed, name-calling is as serious a problem as ever. No Name-Calling Week not only does no good in solving the problem of name-calling, it can only make the problem worse while weakening children emotionally. After several years of these annual weeks, why are more kids than ever committingbecause they can’t handle being called names? Six years ago, in January 2006, I wrote an article about No Name-Calling Week week. I am reprinting it below, with some minor editing, as it is even more relevant today than ever.
The Folly of “No Name-Calling Week”
January 23 through 27 was designated national “No Name Calling Week.” I don’t think it was the intention of the planners, but No Name-Calling Week will guarantee that anti-bully consultants will keep the money rolling in for years to come.
After a week of being bombarded with the message that names can scar them for ever or even kill them, how are kids going to handle it when their peers return to their usual routines of calling each other names. Are they going to think, “I was just called a name. So what?” Of course not! They are going to think, “Oh my God, I have just been called a name! How horrible!” And when they get upset, the name-calling will continue and escalate, because that’s why kids become victims of relentless name-calling: they get upset by names! Kids will be sure to be devastated by insults for a very long time, perhaps the rest of their lives, requiring the work of countless counselors to continue protecting them from the bullies of the world. No Name-Calling Week will insure that the anti-bullying movement doesn’t go the way of other fads, but provides their gurus with healthy incomes until retirement.
“” is also an insult
I wonder if “bully” is being included in the list of forbidden insults. The educational and mental health worlds have conveniently ignored the fact that it is not a compliment to call someone a bully.
At my Bully-Proofing Made Easy seminars, I have participants do an exercise. They are presented with a list of twenty terms. Half of them are things like ‘neurosis,’ ‘ADHD,’ ‘psychosis,’ and ‘obsessive compulsive.’ The other half is words like ‘jerk,’ ‘slut,’ ‘lazy’ and ‘idiot.’ The twenty terms are mixed randomly. ‘Bully’ is among them.
Below the list are two columns, labeled Diagnosis and Insult. Participants are to put the terms in the more appropriate of the two columns. Approximately 98% of participants put the word bully in the Insult column. Yes indeed, bully is not a diagnosis; it is an insult. Yet I am willing to wager that not one school participating in the No Name-Calling Week has forbidden the use of the insult ‘bully’ for the week.
I wonder how many students this week were punished because they slipped up and called someone a name. And were the punishments moral–did they fit the crime?
A better alternative
I propose a better alternative to No Name-Calling Week. This new week would solve the name-calling problem for good. If we are genuinely concerned with kids’ emotional well being, we should have a Call Me Names All You Want Week. Students will be instructed about the brilliance of Freedom of Speech–the Constitutional version of the traditional “Sticks and Stones” slogan. Both staff and students will be allowed to insult each other all they want, with the instruction that they are forbidden to get upset.
Know what you’ll find? Rather than getting upset, the kids will betheir heads off all day long. I guarantee you that after one week, all but the most emotionally disturbed will live out the rest of their lives never again getting upset by names.
Unfortunately, anti-bullying consultants–including myself–will have to find a new source of income. I am willing to be the first. There are enough truly serious human problems that need solving to keep me busy for the rest of my life.
To watch a video that demonstrates the power of Freedom of Speech in stopping insults, please go to the following page and click on the video labeled “The Idiot Game.” https://bullies2buddies.com/Free-Video-Clips/video-clips