TRY THIS: Put an End to "Forensic-Hating"

Posted on October 10, 2012 by Stephanie Alderdice


If you weren't aware, October is National Anti-Bullying Awareness month. From Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center to Do Something, organizations everywhere are casting a spotlight on this troublesome behavior. People are firing up their Mean Girls DVDs, opening their copies of Queen Bees and Wannabes, and coaches are reminiscing when Heathers was topical. Whether it's physical, verbal, emotional, or digital, harassing other individuals for any reason isn't cool. At all. Seriously. 

You would think that forensics, an activity that debates morality, discusses ethics, and examines the human condition would be immune to bullying and harassment. We are enlightened individuals! We research...FOR FUN. We play with our emotions...FOR TROPHIES. 

But sadly, even speech can be a pressure cooker of harassment. From internet jokes designed to degrade other competitors, online commentators engaging in snark fest of national final round performances, to countless conversations at tournaments about the things seen in and outside of rounds - we've witnessed how pointed people can be when it comes to the speech community. 

Maybe we're so used to being under the spotlight and being critiqued, we feel better about ourselves through judging others. Maybe nitpicking other people is a way to prove 'we know what we're doing.' Maybe it's just plain ole human nature.

This month, try to identify and correct "Forensic-hating." If you see someone trashing a competitor or teammate, take a stand. Even if people get defensive and insist you're making a big deal out of a joke, remind them that there's nothing funny about tearing someone down. If you, or someone you know, is getting harassed by people (through speech or not) tell an authority figure. If they don't do something, find someone who will. If you think you may be guilty of being overly critical, making jokes at someone's expense, or trashing another teammate's or competitor's performance, it is never too late to apologize and put a stop to it. There are too many tragic cases where harassment goes too far.

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