Incivilians on the bus

June 23, 2012

Incivilians on the bus

Woke up this morning to an incredible oped by Charles Blow on incivility in this nation. He talked about the recent incident of the school bus monitor (a grandmother) and how she was taunted by several young kids. And taunted she was. Very hard to even watch the video of this bullying.  Blow talks about the divide in this country and how our discourse has changed.  We at Weber Shandwick have been tracking civility in America for several years now and just released our third survey two weeks ago. Although the video makes the point in spades, Americans told us this year that 63% of Americans say we have a major civility problem in the U.S. and 55% expect it to get worse.  The rise of cyberbullying has doubled. Busbullying has just gotten worse.  Will it stop? Hard to feel confident after seeing this video. Blow writes:

“But what, if anything, does this say about society at large? Many things one could argue, but, for me, it is a remarkably apt metaphor for this moment in the American discourse in which hostility has been drawn out into the sunlight.

Those boys are us, or at least too many of us: America at its ugliest. It is that part of society that sees the weak and vulnerable as worthy of derision and animus.

This kind of behavior is not isolated to children and school buses and suburban communities. It stretches to the upper reaches of society — our politics and our pulpits and our public squares.”

The good news from our survey that shines a bit of light on this dismal situation is that Americans are trying to take some charge of rooting out incivility in their lives. Nearly 4 in 10 have blocked or defriended someone online because of their uncivil commentary or behavior. That’s say something.


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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

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