Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Clay Aiken Shares Insight on Bullying

Dr. Phil and Clay Aiken take on bullying.
View 4/19/05 video full screen at YouTube.

2005 Remarks Relevant Today

Nation Targets Hate Epidemic
Hate crimes can happen anywhere, at any time. In fact, in the U.S., one violent act of hate takes place almost every hour of every single day.

It’s time to give a damn because hate crimes involve beatings, rape, torture, even murder. Victims are targeted because of their sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, race, color or any number of superficial factors. - We Give a

Turn on the TV, read a newspaper, look around your neighborhood -- bullying, acts of intimidation, and hate crimes have reached epic proportions in this country; and change is long overdue.

Recent suicides by young people who reached the breaking point from constant bullying, hatred, and harassment have spurred nationwide efforts to bring an end to this epidemic.

On Oct. 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, giving the Department of Justice the authority to prosecute hate crimes, including attacks based on sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability.

Paralleling the new legislation, more and more citizens have begun recognizing the epidemic of hate and are choosing to go proactive, becoming informed and getting involved. Too many, however, remain silent.

Clay Speaks About Bullying

More than five years ago, Clay Aiken appeared on the Dr. Phil Show to discuss bullying with three teen-aged guests, recent targets of ridicule at school. Anyone who has read Clay's book -- Learning to Sing, Hearing the Music in Your Life -- knows the candor with which he shares his history of being bullied and the lessons he has learned.

Not surprisingly, today's Dr. Phil website is loaded with links on the topic: Middle School Kid Bullied ... Do Your Part to End Cyber Bullying ... A Call to Action Against Bullying ... LGBT Teens Speak Up About Anti-Gay Bullying ...Dr. Phil's Interview with Anderson Cooper on Suicide.

Many of the insights Clay shared in April 2005 are relevant today:
When I was young, I was teased by other kids as if it was their job. It's about finding out who you are, being happy with who you are, and being comfortable with who you are.

Once you have that and carry it with you, everybody else wants to know what you've got that they don't.

The photo below links to "Stars Who Were Bullied," a current feature in Celebrity News at US Magazine online:

Clay autographs OMWH albums at Virgin Mega Store.
Click on photo to link to US Magazine feature.

Among the celebrities quoted in the feature are Michael Phelps, Winona Ryder, Chad Michael Murray, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Rosario Dawson, Tom Cruise, Christian Bale, and Victoria Beckham.

Tragically, the Internet abounds with articles about bullying, cyber-bullying, and recent stories of young people bullied to the point they ended their own lives.

Blog Overviews Cyber Bullying

Prior to her death in December, Joan Martin (Ashes) dedicated her 11/1/09 blog, Clay-The Man, to the epidemic of cyber-bullying. Having gathered the information for a non-Internet friend whose granddaughter, a university student, was being bullied online, Joan also shared her research with her readers. Here are the highlights:

My friend thought bullies were only physical beings in elementary school or maybe gangs. I compiled the following information and printed it out for her. She admitted to living a very sheltered life and was horrified that things like this were done.

What could I say, other than I see it everyday on the Internet no matter how much I try not to and have learned to quickly pass it by.

What is bullying?

Bullying is persistent unwelcome behavior, mostly using unwarranted or invalid criticism, nit-picking, fault-finding, also exclusion, isolation, being singled out and treated differently, being shouted at, humiliated, excessive monitoring, having verbal and written warnings imposed, and much more.

History is full of stories about the bullies of their times. Why? How do children learn this despicable act? They learn it from their parents and peers.

Unfortunately this bad behavior has spread with the advent of the internet. People both young and old seem to get a kick out of being rude and disrespectful. It's sad./span>

The Internet provides the perfect forum for cyber bullies, individuals whose aim is to gain gratification from the distress caused by provoking and tormenting others.

The anonymity, ease of provocation, and almost infinite source of targets means the Internet is full of predators from pedophiles targeting children to serial bullies targeting ... anybody.

Cyber bullies get a perverse sense of satisfaction (called gratification) doing this. Serial bullies harbor a lot of internal aggression which they direct at others.

People who bully are adept at creating conflict between those who would otherwise pool negative information about them.

The method of creating conflict is provocation which bullies delight in because they know they can always coerce at least one person to respond in a manner which can then be distorted and used to further flame and inflame people. And so it goes on.

The bully then sits back and gains gratification from seeing others engage in destructive behavior towards each other. This is known as trolling.

Most serial bullies are also serial attention-seekers. More than anything else they want attention. It doesn't matter what type of attention they get, positive or negative, as long as they can provoke someone into paying them attention.

It's like a two-year-old child throwing a tantrum to get attention from a parent. The best way to treat bullies is to refuse to respond and to refuse to engage them - which they really hate.

Understand that it is not possible to communicate in a mature adult manner with a disordered individual.

You can read the entire Cyber Bullying/Cyber Stalking entry at Clay-The Man.

Visual artists have created many appropriate montages to accompany the topic of bullying, several from songs on Clay's 2008 CD, On My Way Here. In addition to the title track, explore YouTube for the singer's versions of "The Real Me," "Weight of the World," "Falling," and "Ashes."

Below is Aspiegirl's montage for "On My Way Here.

'On My Way Here' performed by Clay Aiken
Montage by Aspiegirl can be viewed at YouTube.

Inclusion Project #7 in Pepsi Refresh

Just one week into October, supporters of the National Inclusion Project are on the way to proving This.Is.The.Month for the foundation to secure a $50,000 grant in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge.

US citizens at least 13 years old have 30 votes to use daily via text, Facebook, and through the Pepsi site. That's three votes a day for the National Inclusion Project from each eligible voter/account in a family.

See the previous Carolina entry -- Clay Aiken Fans Campaign for Inclusion -- for detailed voting alliance/partner lists, "tried and true" suggestions for enlisting new voters, etc.

By registering at the National Inclusion Project home page, you will receive a daily voting reminder and be be eligible for an iPad if the foundation wins the $50k grant this month.

Remember, October is the month!

'Bridge Over Troubled Water' - Clay Aiken
Performance from American Idol 2 Finale.

Who Sings BOTW Best?

The entertainment section of the New York Magazine is asking, "Who did BOTW Best?" The Keytones, Radojka Sverko, Bobby Darin, Clay Aiken, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, or Glee?

You can listen to all seven versions of the gospel classic, but no doubt you already know the correct answer. Be sure to vote here!

Have an awesome week, Clay Nation!



SueReu said...

Thanks for the very timely blog about bullying. I wish I had the answer, wish I knew how to make it stop - unfortunately, I don't see an end until adults start acting like adults and THEY stop the bullying. Once they can start to set an example, hopefully the kids will follow along. The message needs to be sent that it's not cool to ridicule another human being - regardless of what they do for a living and if they're in the public eye.

Aspiegirl always does such amazing work, loved the OMWH video.

But of course Clay has the best BOTW - never had a doubt!


Thanks again!

katy said...

"Learning to Sing" written by Clay Aiken is an insight into what the victim endures.

lulu said...

Clay Aiken is a wonderful spokesman for the campaign against bullying.

musicfan said...

Caro......Thank you for the timely blog on bullying. I think you and I were attached somehow last night as we both wrote on the same subject.

The problem of bullying will never be solved until adults stop joking and putting people down. Late night comedians have to be the leaders in this battle.

Thank you for this informative blog. Clay Aiken is a wise man who can lead in the fight against bullying!

LovesClaysVoice said...

Thanks Caro for blogging about bullying! It is such a sad thing that so many young people are subjective to this kind of hatred. It has been around for a long time, but now it just seems to be done without anyone thinking about the consequences. Sadly Clay knows firsthand how alone you can feel when it is done to you.

I loved Aspiegirl's montage and Clay's BOTW video! Both were wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Hi Caro. I want to thank you for a great blog. This is an issue that I think is really important and so glad you and Clay and others have cared to bring it to light.

((HUGS)) Kathy/Aspiegirl

MissSally said...

The quiet wisdom of our dear friend, Ashes, is so, so true. Bullies want attention; ignore them, and they will go away. This is one of the most effective lessons we can teach our children, and also remember ourselves.

Thank you for this important message.

Sandy said...

The country needs to act fast to put in motion very severe penalties for the offenders who abuse "cyberspace". This is an epidemic that is out of control and unless there are laws and penalties to ban such behaviours, it will only get worse than what it already is. I think back to when we were children and teenagers and say to myself - knowing what I know today, would I want a cellphone - my answer is no!

Have a great weekend Caro!


Anonymous said...

Hi Caro,

Where do I start?? First, I want to Thank You for another wonderful blog. Oh how I miss Ashes every day, and also for her wonderful blogs. I am so glad you put her link in your blog, it is needed to be seen by everyone, both young and old. I wish Dr Phil and many other shows would have Clay Aiken on there shows....again to promot his Book LTS. It is so sad however that he had to endur bullying, but look at what a wonderful man is is today.

Speaking of Clay Aiken, I do miss seeing him....and March can not come fast enough for me.

Aspiegirl always does such a wonderful job with her montages....and Thank You for putting in the Dr Phil YouTube.

Have a great weekend Caro.

Big Hugs,

Anonymous said...

Dear Caro,
thank yo verymuch for a very-very usefull blog on bullying. This is a very important article. Thank you for making me aware of many forms of bullying. I will be more & more sensitive for what I can do... sometimes ...jokes for other people can make a scar to others. Thank you verymuch Caro. Can I share your blog to other friends as it's really important matters ?
***Puteri. R

Carolina Clay said...


Thank you for your thoughtful remarks about bullying, Aspiegirl's monthage, etc.

Puteri, you are always welcome to share the Carolina blog with others; and this entry discusses a critical aspect of our society.

Have a great week, all!