The idea that Junior gets Roger to pay him respect by punching him in the face may suit our idea of the rewards that come from standing up to a bully, but do you think Roger's response is...

The idea that Junior gets Roger to pay him respect by punching him in the face may suit our idea of the rewards that come from standing up to a bully, but do you think Roger's response is realistic? Why or why not?

Asked on by lzapata1

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that the answer to this depends on whether or not you have an optimistic or pessimistic view of adolescents.

Junior already knew that life would be difficult in the all- white school because he would be seen as an outsider.  When he endures harassment and bullying after a particularly rude joke, Junior stands up for himself through the "Unofficial and Unwritten Spokane Indian Rules of Fisticuffs."

Optimistically speaking, Roger's response represents how bullies need to be confronted.  In standing up to bullies, the logic goes that they will recognize that someone is worthy of their respect.  Junior "speaks" the language that Roger understands.  As a result, Roger acquires a newly discovered perception that he cannot mess with Junior anymore.  

In seeing this a bit more negatively, Roger's response might be seen as a bit unrealistic.  Many bullies do what they do because of wanting to be perceived as being in control and the one in charge.  When Junior punches him, it is an insult.  It causes him to lose face.  In many cases, bullies might "double down" and want to inflict even more harm on their intended target.  Roger would not have respect for Junior. Rather, he would be incensed at being shown up by him.  

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