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Derrick Z. Jackson

Mitt Romney failed to man up on bullying

AS A TARGET of bullying in the 1960s, I was disgusted to hear Mitt Romney claim he does not remember being the leader of a group of prep school teens that pinned down an “effeminate” classmate as Romney allegedly cut off his hair. He is either lying or worse. If he truly cannot remember, his response betrays a creepy lack of empathy for someone seeking the highest office in the land.

I suffered nothing like what the classmate, John Lauber, did, let alone Phoebe Prince and Carl Walker-Hoover, the two tormented Massachusetts youths whose bullying-related suicides roiled this state. In first grade, I was beaten up for the chocolate bar I won for winning the class spelling bee. I was a fat kid who was teased for my “breasts.” At my job at a variety store, ruffians threatened to beat me if I did not let them shoplift. As manager of my high school’s predominantly white junior varsity basketball team, I dreaded games against black schools as shouts of “Boy!” rang down from the rafters when I gave water and towels to my players.

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