Thursday, May 26, 2011

Speak No Evil

The featured speaker at last Saturday’s “Healthy Relationships—Healthy Living” conference sponsored by the Pastoral Counseling Centers of Tennessee was author, educator, and trainer Barbara Coloroso.  Her emphasis was on parenting and teaching and specifically on breaking the cycle of bullying.  In an interesting and informative way, she explained the roles of the bully, the bullied, and the bystander in this unacceptable process.

Coloroso pointed out that bullying is not about anger or conflict but about contempt.  She writes,

Contempt comes with three apparent psychological advantages that allow kids to harm others without feeling empathy, compassion or shame.  These are:  a sense of entitlement; an intolerance toward difference; and a liberty to exclude.

Although she is a nationally known expert in this area, her work is not limited to youth and to school campuses.  Coloroso has done work in places like Rwanda were dehumanization led to genocide.   Her latest book, Extraordinary Evil: A Brief History of Genocide is based on this work.  When carried to the extreme, bullying can lead to mass murder.


Coloroso’s work is a warning to those of us who find ourselves in conflict from time to time.  In these situations, there is always a tendency to label and belittle those who oppose us.  In so doing, we make those who disagree with us less than human so that we can justify the things we do and say.


Take a look at Coloroso’s work.  I think you will find it informative.



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