Everyone is watching. A live audience and millions of national television and on-line viewers are looking on as the announcement is made that singer-songwriter Taylor Swift has won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video. Immediately, Kanye West defiantly invades the stage to grab the award from a shocked Swift as a protest to his perception that she is undeserving. According to MTV News, the crowd is silent and confused. They don’t know how to respond.
This startling scene from American pop culture left an indelible image that cannot be forgotten by the large numbers of people who saw it. Or can it? Kanye West is still a highly successful music artist, fashion designer, film director and world-class tweeter. In fact, he’s probably even more popular after the incident.
While we can’t blame artists like Kanye and his followers for the myriad reasons why kids bully, we can certainly propose that for many young people the impact of teen culture in American speaks loudly to the attitude of defiance and domination.
In much of today’s society, to be crude, inappropriate, mean spirited, rude and socially unacceptable is now grounds for some type of celebratory award in its own right. The sense of human entitlement and domination has clearly made a dent in, and in some instances even replaced, the ideal of civility.
What was once thought of as an insult or “put down,” a big part of traditional bullying, has now evolved into an overall and consistent “in your face” style of behavior strongly supported by a number of Fortune 500 media giants and sold as “youth or pop culture”.
Bobby Kipper and Bud Ramey have co-authored two books and numerous articles on the crisis in youth violence plaguing our culture, addressing “best practices” for making a difference in the gang crisis and bullying epidemic that is impacting an entire generation. Over 4,400 young people committed suicide last year, largely due to the bullying epidemic. Their books, No BULLIES : Solutions for Saving Our Children from Today’s Bully and No COLORS : 100 Ways to Stop Gangs from Taking Away Our Communities, offer advocacy for at-risk youth.
Bobby Kipper, Director and Founder of the National Center for the Prevention of Community Violence, is a career law enforcement officer with extensive experience in the area of preventing youth and community violence nationwide. His background includes working on a number of key national initiatives with the White House, Congress, and the Department of Justice.
Bud Ramey is the 2010 Public Affairs Silver Anvil Award winner of the Public Relations Society of America—the highest public affairs recognition in the world. His grassroots public affairs and humanitarian successes and advocacy for at-risk youth stretch across three decades.