1. DBTate
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    DBTate Senior Member

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    Social outcasts

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by DBTate, Aug 23, 2011.

    First of all, I don't want this to turn in to any sort of argument. I'd just like to hear everyone's opinion on this topic:

    Why is it that in school, intelligent children are often bullied / left out?

    This may seem a bit vague, because I'm sure we all know intelligent people who were quite 'popular' in school, but I'm also sure you understand where I'm coming from.

    For example, many children seem to rebel against school work / teachers simply for the fear of being branded a 'nerd'. I have never been able to grasp the concept of why intelligence is something to be ashamed of?

    I myself was a victim of this (self-inflicted however), as I purposely held back my effort in any school work so as to not be thought of as anything other than 'normal'. I can assure you, it's a decision I have lived to regret every day since finishing my schooling.

    My writing too was a victim; something I shunned for fear someone might find out wrote stories.

    Despite being so affected by it, I still have no idea why?

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    School is largely about social development and fitting into a social structure. From a practical matter, that is. Any group of humans tends to form such structure.

    Looking back on the differences between the people who were very intelligent and also popular, and the ones that weren't, in my experience the popular ones were the ones who also fit into the social structure very well (e.g. were great at sports, or attractive and socially outgoing), whereas the ones who were bullied a lot were ones who were awkward and/or somehow unable to fit into the social structure that the majority demanded.

    For that matter, the unintelligent kids who couldn't fit into the social structure were also bullied.
     
  3. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Humans naturally single some people out so there is a stronger bond within a group, creating an 'us against them' feeling that binds them together, and makes them feel secure and together in the social structure. Anthropologically speaking. It's a left-over from a more primitive past.
     
  4. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    Teenagers are weak, the gather in "pack" to overcome this weakness, anybody who doesn't fit the bill (too smart, too dumb, different clothers...) of the pack is emarginated.

    That's pretty simple at least here.
     
  5. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    When you're in school, "fitting in" is more important than you'd think. Now, in high school, I can laugh at how it used to be, but when you're younger, there's more genuine need and pressure to fit in.
     
  6. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Throughout life there is a need in most to 'fit in', not jut after high school.
     
  7. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Yes, but as I've gotten older I don't feel that need so much anymore. When you're younger, your perception of yourself is skewered by what others think of you. When you develop more in terms of age, personality, thought, etc., it doesn't matter as much any more.
     
  8. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Agreed. I think it's from emotional naivety and immaturity, that's why it's strongest when really young.
     
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  9. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    It's simple instincts that have been with us since man first came into being.

    Everyone wants to fit into a "pack" where everyone looks after each other. If someone is...different, the "pack" considers that person a potential threat and ostracizes them.
     
  10. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    People fear what they do not understand. People fear the weirdos, including the nerds, because they do not understand them.

    We all have our inner weirdos, but we keep them inside for fear of not being able to relate to others. It can be perceived as a weakness, and in the natural world the weak die first.
     
  11. Jessica_312
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    Jessica_312 Contributing Member

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    I consider myself to be intelligent, but that had nothing to do with why I was bullied in grade school - I was bullied because I was pudgy. Now, highschool for me was different - I actually had a great high school experience. I slimmed down and made it a point to be outgoing and nice to everybody and get involved with social events, but the high school I went to seemed as though bullies were few and far between anyway (thankfully).

    Here's my theory - Kids bully because of two reasons: 1) Peer pressure, 2) Insecurities (deflecting away from yourself and your own issues by pinning them on another). I don't think intelligence has anything to do with why someone is chosen as a target for bullying. As Steerpike said, it's more about not fitting in with the "societal norm". Like in my case, in grade school (grammar school, elementary school, whatever you call it), I got made fun of because I was larger and not the same size as the other girls. Plus, back then I was way shy and didn't stick up for myself (and bullies like easy targets).

    All I know is, to put it not so eloquently, bullies suck :)
     
  12. heyitsmary
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    heyitsmary Member

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    I was known as "the smart girl" in high school and a lot of people only talked to me if they thought I would help them with their homework. But I wasn't a total outcast. I had plenty of friends and got along with almost everyone. I wasn't really bullied for being intelligent, and a lot of my friends were both intelligent and popular. A few people probably did look down on me or think I was strange for caring so much about school and learning, but I didn't care because I was fine with the way I was, and confidence goes a long way in high school. The people I did know who were bullied weren't bullied because they were smart, but because they pissed off a bully who chose them as their target.
    My theory is that a lot of teenagers don't care about intelligence because it is shoved down their throat every day by adults who tell them that it is important but not why and they want something to rebel against. And as far as bullying, I think Jessica hit the nail on the head: Bullies do what they do because they are insecure themselves and feel the need to pull others down in order to bring themselves up.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    All kids are outcasts until they find a way to get accepted, or until they go Columbine. The muscleheads are the first to coalesce into a mob.
     
  14. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    You only care for someone you know. We live in a society(all around the world) where we can hear about deaths and simply pass them to the side, because we don't know them.
     
  15. Zenoris
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    Zenoris New Member

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    I have to agree with you on that. I was that type of guy in high school, forced to go to class and not really wanting to actually do well academically. Now I also was not a rebel but I really do feel like my school never prepared for life. But that's another story for a different day. It just seems like no one is really taking an interest in the students themselves or that the teachers are burned out and just want to leave as much as the kids do. Or it could also be that there are too many students in the schools for the teacher to try to understand each one (which was another problem my school had). Personally I feel that if someone, not just teachers, tried to connect with a student on a personal level then not only would they rise academically but bullying would be cut down as well. Realistically I know this isn't possible but it's not to at least think that I have an answer.
     
  16. Motley
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    Motley Active Member

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    That's pretty much what I was thinking. Having intelligence puts the student in the same league as the teachers, and nothing is more 'outside the pack' than liking what the teachers like.

    In my school experience, the intelligent ones weren't really bullied. The strange and awkward ones were. I was in the "geek" group and we weren't bullied even though there were classic coke-bottle glasses and out-of-style clothes. We all seemed rather confident in being more interested in intellectual pursuits than parties or football games or whatever, and confident people tend not to get bullied.
     
  17. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wonder if the particular fear of intelligence is an American thing or something. I mean, through all my years in school, it's the bad students who have been considered outcasts. If you had bad grades people looked down on you and thought you were stupid. People with good grades that did well in after school activities were looked up to, were popular, and people were jealous of them.

    And the people who does the bullying are the outcasts with bad grades, and they bully other outcasts. Because of that I never really saw my own situation watching TV series from the US, where all the bullies were pretty rich girls and jocks. Those are the nice people here... Of course there are many exceptions, and I'm sure it varies from school to school and from city to city. Heck, maybe I even live in a weird place and IS the exception. However, that is how I think it is when talking to people from other places in the country.
     
  18. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    This is my experience too.
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    with a genius IQ, i was the smartest kid in my grade school and jr high classes and was totally unpopular until it came time for exams, when everyone wanted to be my 'friend' and sit next to me!

    in high school, thankfully i wasn't the only 'brain' but still wasn't invited into the 'in' crowd...

    why?... seems the less intellectually endowed feel threatened by our being so much smarter and also can't relate to those who actually enjoy learning, instead of wanting to just party their way through school... admittedly, most of us also can't really relate to the 'normals' so we aren't all that inclined to act like them, thus making us more acceptable socially...

    as adults and especially if one's a woman, we're social outcasts because others are embarrassed by having no clue about stuff that to us is like, 'everyone knows that, don't they?'... and of course no man can love a woman who knows so much more about just about everything than he does!

    and one's kids can't stand the fact that their mom knows what they'll do and say even before they do!

    i've had to deal with all of that since earliest childhood and yes, i've shed oceans of tears over it... but i still wouldn't choose being any less of a 'brain/egghead/whatever' just to be 'miss popular' in school, or some normal-brained guy's quiescent-minded, 'you know best, honey!' little wifey/mistress ...
     
  20. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I'm sorry, that is nonsense. My girlfriend knows more than I do about a number of things and I love her. I know a number of guys who feel the same in their relationships.

    Men are not entirely petty male supremacists.
     
  21. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    My last girlfriend was the smartest person I've ever met in my life, and I've met a lot of smart people. She knew a lot more than me about most subjects, which is precisely the way I like it. As far as I'm concerned, the smarter the better.
     
  22. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    ^ Agreed. I find it really amazing how even intelligent people can be prone to making sweeping remarks.
     
  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    There is nothing that will make me lose interest in a woman faster than finding an unintelligent and/or acquiescent person in place of a smart, autonomous individual.

    Maybe a re-enactment of the scene from The Crying Game would do it faster, but that's about it.
     
  24. Jessica_312
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    Jessica_312 Contributing Member

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    lol!
     

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