The Karate Kid starring Jaden Smith,
supported by Anti-Bullying Organization U.G.L.Y
by Laurie Wink
Bullying is just one of the issues that many students are now facing in the United States. This attitude is like a hereditary one since it has been passed from generation to generation. Discrimination is a difficult problem to overcome and a mixture of approaches to this may be necessary. Some will put others down verbally, others may even resort to violence. Do these people get something from bullying others?
Recently, a film has been played in movie theaters which conveys an anti-bullying message that encourages tweens and teens to protect themselves from abusive peers. “The Karate Kid” starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan was opened in movie theaters last June 11. In relation to this film, Hey U.G.L.Y., a nonprofit youth empowerment organization, endorses this family-friendly film for its anti-bullying theme.
Hey U.G.L.Y. – Unique, Gifted, Lovable You – is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping youth self-discover the solutions to bullying, obesity and racism. Betty Hoeffner, author of the Stop Bullying Handbook and co-founder of Hey U.G.L.Y., said bullying is one of the most critical issues now facing U.S. students at all grade levels.
“And, as shown in the movie, bullying is a big problem in other countries as well,” Hoeffner said. “We need to help kids see beyond the bravado of bullies so they can recognize the pain and insecurity most bullies feel.”
Here’s a brief synopsis of the anti-bullying inspired film “The Karate Kid”:
Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) is a 12-year-old living in Detroit when his mother Sherry (Taraji Henson) gets a job in China. Once in China, Dre misses home and wants to go back to the US. His mother tells him that China is home now, and he must learn to accept his new home. Dre begins to like China when he falls for his classmate Mei Ying (Wenwen Han). Dre’s feelings for Mei Ying are seen by Cheng (Zhenwei Wang) the class bully who is out to stop it. Cheng puts Dre to the ground with ease using his Kung Fu training. Dre doesn’t have a chance using the little karate that he knows, and Cheng proves it the next time he sees Dre. Dre is getting beaten badly when Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) the maintenance man, secretly a Kung Fu Master, stops the fight. Dre persuades Mr. Han to teach him Kung Fu. With this knowledge, Dre must now face down Cheng in a fight to win his respect in a Kung Fu tournament.
In commenting about the film, Jackie Chan said the martial arts are not for hurting people, but for protecting them. He hopes the film will introduce audiences to the reality of martial arts, instead of the dramatized movie versions.
Hoeffner warns parents that the film uses plenty of violent scenes among children to get the non-violent viewpoint across. But she believes it’s important for young people to recognize and talk about their own tendencies to victimize others, whether physically or emotionally.
“Hey U.G.L.Y. uses self-esteem and diversity-building activities to help young people uncover their own bullying tendencies and understand the negative impacts of that behavior,” Hoeffner said. “Our approach is successful because students teach peers about how to stop bullying.”
Truly, bullying is like a viral disease that has no cure. However, this issue can be avoided by keeping your feet on the ground. These bully people will actually stop if they would notice that you aren’t affected of whatever discriminatory statements they throw towards you. That is, if it’s just by means of verbal bullying. Bullying that involves physical abuse is a different thing. In this case, of course, showing your power to defend yourself will wipe them out and get off of your life, for good. Use your skill say for example, “martial arts” as shown in the film, to defend yourself and not to bully others. Always remember Jackie Chan’s dialogue in this film, ” the only way to stop them is to face them”.
Hoeffner’s Stop Bullying Handbook is designed to give youth a voice against bullying and the courage to be part of the solution. It is the first resource of its kind to guide teens in helping each other learn how to defend themselves and others against bullies while monitoring their own bullying tendencies. Since its release on Feb. 10 of this year during National Stop Bullying Week, the handbook has reached over 2,250 students.