Friday, November 19, 2010

Katie Learns Star Wars Fans Have Her Covered

I'm really jammed for time right now, but this was such an interesting moment of solidarity I had to share it.

A young Chicago girl named Katie got intimidated and bullied by some boys at her school because she brought a Star Wars water bottle to school with her. Fearful of being an outsider and of being taunted, she began to hide from the problem, but her fearless mom took the problem in hand and the result was a galaxy of support for Katie and an online avalanche of appreciation.

Her mom posted

"Katie loves Star Wars, and she was very excited about her new items. For the first few months of school, she proudly filled her water bottle herself and helped me pack her lunch each morning.

But a week ago, as we were packing her lunch, Katie said, "My Star Wars water bottle is too small. It doesn't hold enough water. Can I take a different one?" She searched through the cupboard until she found a pink water bottle and said, "I'll bring this.

"I was perplexed. "Katie, that water bottle is no bigger than your Star Wars one. I think it is actually smaller."

"It's fine, I'll just take it," she insisted.

I kept pushing the issue, because it didn't make sense to me. Suddenly, Katie burst into tears.

She wailed, "The first grade boys are teasing me at lunch because I have a Star Wars water bottle. They say it's only for boys. Every day they make fun of me for drinking out of it. I want them to stop, so I'll just bring a pink water bottle."

I hugged her hard and felt my heart sink. Such a tender young age, and already she is embarrassed about the water bottle that brought her so much excitement and joy a few months ago.

"Katie, it is okay to be different. Not all girls need to drink out of pink water bottles," I told her.

"I don't want to be too different," Katie lamented. "I'm already different. Nobody else in my class wears glasses or a patch, and nobody else was adopted. Now I'm even more different, because of my Star Wars water bottle."

Over 1,200 comments have been left in support of Katie, to encourage her to be herself and be strong, to realize she's not done anything wrong and to celebrate herself and not fear the witless taunts of foolish boys.

Thousands upon thousands of Twitter folk now rally to her. Many celebrities are picking up the banner too.

A Google blog search today brings some 300,000 hits mentioning her and her defeat of the bullies.

The official Star Wars blog celebrates Katie too:

The Force is strong with Katie.

We got your back, girl!

1 comment:

  1. What a little angel. :)

    Being a kid is tough. Far tougher today than 40 years ago. For one, we weren't as fixated on image as youngsters are today, and two...when someone was getting picked on and it became clear that the joke was going too far, those doing them picking would realize it and begin to reverse the process by apologizing and coddling the tormented.

    We knew "too far" when we saw it. That no longer seems to be the case.

    There has been a desensitization. Not blaming it on video games or movies necessarily, but the problem does exist.

    It's nice to see that awareness is building and the lives of those who have been bullied, literally to death, have not been lost in vain.

    I believe all kids should be taught to toughen up and know when to tell other kids "fuck you"... But they should also be taught that the feelings of another are important and deserve to be respected and that no one has a right to torment another living thing physically or emotionally.