This past New Year’s Eve, a 14-year-old girl was celebrating at home with a friend when she received a video on her Snapchat account of two schoolmates calling her racist and derogatory names. When her adoptive father Brad Knudson found out, he decided to do something about it. After recording the bullying, he managed to contact the father of the kids in the video, Deron Puro, and explain his abhorrence. But instead of showing remorse or concern, Puro called Knudson a “n*****-lover” in a voicemail and, strangely enough, did not protest when Knudson threatened to put the whole story on YouTube.
The Puro family issued an apology statement for the father’s behavior later in the week, stating that he is currently in treatment for alcohol addiction. They also explained that he was intoxicated when he left the voicemail on Knudson’s phone, although that does little to excuse his terrible behavior. Since the YouTube video went viral, the Puro family has received numerous death threats, and has relocated out of state for the safety of the kids.
Knudson and his family went on CBS Minnesota to say that it was never their intention for the family to have to move. Knudson stated, “It is the most upsetting thing to our family... When we try to prevent bullying and racism, and people are defending us by using bullying. It’s just that perpetual cycle that’s got to stop.”
We are in awe of this father’s actions and for not hesitating to protect his daughter. His touching YouTube video speaks volumes about the kind of damage that bullying can take on kids today. It was also refreshing to see an attempt to encourage dialogue and raise awareness about the dangers of bullying.
It’s remarkably easy to be a target of hatred these days, especially with the relative anonymity of cyber-bullying. The plethora of social media options make spreading hate as simple as pressing a button. Whether they be trolls or bullies, enough hateful comments can seriously lower a person’s self worth, just as it would IRL, and the danger only increases when young girls and women of color are the ones being targeted. Girls of color face tons of stereotypes about their bodies and personalities, stereotypes that are steeped in racial and sexist prejudice. This needs to stop now. There are numerous resources online and in schools to teach kids compassion and self-love, as well as tools for dealing with bullies. Everyone should follow Knudson’s lead and take a stand against hatred.
Watch the incredible video below.
Image via YouTube