I’m always shocked by male violence – the scale, frequency and how habitually it is depicted on our screens.
No one could have been prepared for what happened at the Oscars on Sunday night. We all awoke on Monday to footage and commentary about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars.
Smith’s slap was apparently ‘a reaction’ to the offensive ‘joke’ from Rock.
There has been some trouble brewing between the pair for some years.
It is not ok to mock someone for a medical condition.
BUT, violence isn’t acceptable as a response to whatever provocation was laid in front of Smith.
Violence isn’t acceptable as a response on one of the biggest live broadcasts in the world.
Violence isn’t acceptable as a way of settling scores – no matter how old.
Will Smith has enjoyed a 30 year career in TV, music, films and latterly writing and his legacy was solid and a good example to young people. I think he may have destroyed that in 30 seconds – his status as a solid male role model has gone I fear.
He was angry BUT violence was not the response needed. Here’s what he could have done:
- After the ‘joke’, check that Jada was ok.
- Discuss a solution between them.
- Speak to the organisers / Chris Rock and ask for an apology and threaten a lawsuit if none is forthcoming.
- Make a statement yourself after the event.
Sadly Smith may have bought into many of his character’s traits and asked questions with his hands instead of his brain.
Why am I discussing this with you? Because many of your students may need some ‘anger management’ or ‘restorative practice’ learning. They may need to understand why they shouldn’t fly off the handle, they may need to develop empathy.
This is where I come in…after years speaking about male violence against women and girls I’ve come to see – through socialisation or accident – that boys aren’t taught to understand or display care, empathy and kindness and I think that needs to change. If we can’t find role models we need to create more role models and be the change we wish to see
Here’s Empathy Lightbulbs – a workshop to develop empathy and understanding amongst young people – especially boys. The course can be delivered virtually or face to face and will help to bridge divides between young men and women and between men and boys.
Here’s how to get in touch if we can help you.