I’m working with three resident assistants in my building at NYU to promote this program to shift the dynamic around bullying and social combat. We’re asking students living in the hall to take the PAY ATTENTION PLEDGE. Once students take the pledge, they can post the electronic logo on their Facebook page and a hard copy of the logo will be displayed on a bulletin board in the hall.
If you would like to participate, please make the pledge and post the logo on your Facebook page. Then spread the word! Here’s the pledge and the logo:
The PAY ATTENTION Pledge
We are living at a moment in time when young people are choosing to stop living because the harassment that they receive is too much to bear. Safe spaces are shrinking because technology keeps us all connected, all the time. Harassment and bullying, or what sociologist Robert Faris calls “social combat,” oppresses the victim or target, but also negatively affects the perpetrator and the witness. Sexual orientation, gender identity, race, class, size, ability, and religious beliefs should not be grounds for social combat.
Research shows that 77% of bullying incidents have no one who intervenes. Yet the same research tells us that if you have a friend who intervenes, you are more likely to intervene yourself.
It’s time for us to PAY ATTENTION to our own actions and find ways to intervene when we witness examples of social combat. By signing this form, I pledge to:
1. Stand up for others. I will not allow another person to be harassed or bullied in my presence. I will not be confrontational or use violence. Rather, I will find a way to help the person being bullied to exit the situation.
2. Choose my words wisely. I will not use words like “gay,” “ghetto,” “queer,” or “retarded” to indicate my negative feelings about another person, object, or situation.
3. Monitor my own online behavior. I will be careful about my word choices when writing on my own social media site or on the sites and walls of others. I recognize that even when I’m joking with my friends, others could misinterpret what I’ve written.
4. Inquire. When I hear someone else using questionable language to describe a person, object, or situation, I will ask this person why s/he is using that particular language. I will ask in an appropriate, non-aggressive way, simply to determine why the person is making the choice.
5. Challenge myself. I will work to step out of my own comfort zone and seek new knowledge about racism, classism, ageism, ableism, sexism, heterosexism, genderism, and other forms of oppression.
6. Spread the word. I will tell my friends about the pledge and post the electronic logo on my social media pages so that others will know that I PAY ATTENTION.
Once you commit to the pledge, download this logo and make it your profile picture on your Facebook page. That way, people will know that you PAY ATTENTION and are actively working to stop bullying and social combat.