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Cyber Bullying is Just Wrong #HugDontJudge #BeautyIsDiverse

I grew up being made fun of for my unique appearance. I am affected by ectodermal dysplasia, and as a result am uniquely beautiful. My Mom and Dad, who are awesome by the way, always taught me that people make fun when they don’t understand and that if you make them understand, they won’t make fun. shaq instagram screenshotNow is just one of those times when the opportunity presents to educate someone about ectodermal dysplasia and to reinforce the truth that beauty is, in fact, diverse.

Jahmel Binion is Michigan man, also affected by ectodermal dysplasia. Jahmel, too, has been teased all of his life because of his unique appearance. Jahmel recently posted a selfie on Instagram, and soon found himself as the brunt of the joke again. Only this time, it was by none other than Shaquille O’Neal, who posted a split photo of himself next to Jahmel, making fun of Jahmel’s appearance. The photo has been removed from Shaq’s account. Trey Burke and Wacha Flocka Flame are said to have joined in the teasing.

Rather than hang his head in shame, though, Jahmel was inspired to create a “Hug Don’t Judge” campaign against bullying!

I have to applaud Jahmel for keeping his response positive. It takes strength of character to do that. I bet he has awesome parents, too. 😉

I wanted to share with you the interview Jahmel had with Fox news, so you can see him yourself.

Fox 2 News Headlines

The National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasia has extended an open invitation to Mr. Shaquille O’Neal to attend the annual family conference in Columbus, Ohio, so that he can learn about ectodermal dysplasia and meet the people it affects. I hope you’ll lend your support and share the invitation via your social media channels.

I would be remiss not to share a video that the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasia put together that tells more of our collective story.

Please know that my aim in sharing this is not to shame Mr. O’Neal, though his actions were unkind in the very least. Instead, it is my hope– and the hope of the community of men, women, and children that are affected by ectodermal dysplasia, that Mr. O’Neal will learn from his actions and join our efforts to fight cyber bullying. After all, beauty is diverse.

Will you help us spread the message by sharing this post or by tweeting this message “@Shaq Beauty is diverse. Let us show you. #HugDontJudge #NFED @nfed_org

Thanks!

NFED #HugDontJudge

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Posts may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own
About Virginia

Hi there! My name is Virginia, and I am the author/owner of That Bald Chick. I am a Christian, wife, mother of three, full time homemaker, homeschooler, and ministry volunteer in addition to being a blogger. In my free time *cough* I enjoy reading, writing, taking walks with my family, and listening to music.

Comments

  1. I am so thankful that you posted this and made people aware. I saw the picture of the two men together — did not know either– did not even take time to read the article, so I am glad that I now know what the story was behind that picture. It makes me so sick that we are adults but we cannot all act like adults. I always teach my children and any child I cross to not judge and we are not all the same and I know that schools also try sending this message as well… so when a ‘celebrity’ does this crap it pisses me off (sorry, but it really does)… There are so many young kids out there that (unfortunately) have celebrities/ sports players as their heroes and then they do this. UGH! This is why I have always trained my kids not to have someone that they do not genuinely know as a hero…. We ‘know’ these people from TV but we really don’t KNOW them. It is sad that all you hear is crickets when these three folks are contacted requiring their bullying scandal. You have to ask yourself… do they care, are they too ashamed to comment or are they waiting on their PR guy to tell them what to say.

  2. You have no idea how much that breaks my heart. People can be so thoughtless and careless and I am so glad that I am raising my kids to be better people that the jerks who thought that poor guy was a joke. For shame!

    • Robin I agree that many times the unkind deeds/words of others are the result of thoughtlessness and/or carelessness. Bravo on raising your kids to be and do better!

  3. I hadn’t heard about the Shaq scandal, but I am so glad it can be turned into a teaching moment. I was unaware of this condition, and I am thankful that you just educated me on it. I hope that awareness can bring change and understanding!

  4. What an awesome post! You are one of the most beautiful women I “know”, and hearing that you’ve had it so hard to read. Bullying has went so much further from when I was a kid and we got called names and picked on. Yeah, kids are mean and say hurtful things. But today it is going so much further. Kids are taking it out of school and the bullied never get a moments peace. We are dealing with that now with my daughter. Having school officials who turn a blind eye is a huge problem.

  5. What a moronic move for Shaquille O’Neal to do that! I hope he educates himself and realizes just how much he was in the wrong.

  6. Because of Shaq’s size, talent and fame, I doubt he has any idea of what bullying feels like. Poor choice for him to post that photo.

  7. Thank you for sharing. I’ve never heard of ectodermal dysplasia before. It is a shame that people bully others.

  8. Thank you so much for doing this post. It is just so heartbreaking how cruel people can be. I hate bullies and we need to bring a stop to it! I never heard of what ectodermal dysplasia is so thank you for sharing. I’m going to share your post to help bring awareness.

  9. I have not heard of ectodermal dysplasia. But I have heard of bullies. I have no patience for them. I do not really think any reasons for bullying are of much value. Maybe I am only being one sided. I am appalled at the behavior so some of our ‘celebrities”.

  10. I am so glad you shared this! A cyber-bully is a true coward. Hiding behind a keyboard and saying nasty things is hurtful and pathetic.

  11. Such a wonderful post; everyone needs to read this! It’s such a shame how rude people can be!

  12. It’s bad enough that people bully, period, but when a celebrity gets involved and promotes despicable behavior to the throngs of people who believe in his actions it’s absolutely disgusting. Thank you for bringing this to light and for speaking up against these things.

  13. Many times out of ignorance we open our mouths and hurt others. It is a shame that Mr. O’Neal has promoted these unkind words. Hopefully he will be challenged to make a difference for good instead of ugly.

  14. There’s no excuse for people being unkind. There’s nothing funny about that and clearly Shaq either realized it or was told that what he had done was wrong. It would be nice if he publicly apologized though. I love how you call yourself uniquely beautiful, and I’ve known you long enough to know that beauty goes much further than the outside…it’s all the way through you.

  15. Shaq should be ashamed of himself. He’s a public figure and he could have shown/taught America a lot about why not to cyber bully instead of jumping in on the man. In no way was that photo funny and he should apologize publicly.

  16. I’m just in shock that this kind of cyber bullying exists – and someone with such a huge profile would take part in it. Thank you for posting about it. It’s really sad and I hope Shaq apologizes (if he hasn’t already.)

  17. Thank you for sharing! people can be thoughtless but it is important to take the opportunity to educate others.

  18. I witnessed cyber bullying first hand in high school. Over the years I cannot believe how bad it has gotten. People just don’t want to accept those that are different. It’s really sad and scary the world we live in these days.

  19. Thank you for bringing some light to this subject! I don’t understand why we can’t embrace change in this world. I love how unique we can be!

  20. Beautiful post and message. Thanks so much for sharing. Many times, teasing is rooted in plain ignorance. People don’t know, so they judge and/or joke. I hope he learns from this.

  21. thanks so much for bringing this awareness. I really wasn’t aware of this condition and it’s good to learn a bit more about it. It is really sad how our culture treats people who we think are different

  22. I can’t believe this happened – with a celeb nonetheless!

  23. I am shocked that Shaq would do that. YES, you ARE beautiful and hope to teach my kids to love and respect all people, regardless of how they look.

  24. Omg, what. Why would they do that? Nothing really funny about that. Such a shame =/

  25. Normally I can read things like this and get angry for a few minutes but move on. When I read this post, my heart broke. The ignorance from Shaq is astounding! It’s sad that someone would think it’s ok to do what he did. I hope that he does attend the session he was invited to so he can educate himself. He really made himself look like a fool.

  26. I agree that he looked foolish. As someone who is such a public figure I’m not sure why even for a moment he thought this was ok. No one should bully others!

  27. What a strong young man Jahmel is. Often it’s hard for any of us to have struggles and use them for good or helping ourselves and others. Often times we claim being a victim, but this young man is empowered and I love it!! We need more people like him and you in the world.

  28. It’s sad and wrong when anyone bullies, but when a celebrity and supposed role model does it it’s even worse. What disgusting behavior! I tweeted him.

  29. That is shameful! Every person is an individual and unique, and beautiful in their own way. he should be ashamed.

  30. I was bullied in school as well, though it was for much smaller things. It’s articles like yours that help us all remember that there is beauty everywhere and how important it is to learn about conditions like this. We should all be helping each other, not tearing them down.

  31. Way to go Jahmel. And shame on Shaq who should know better. Ugh!!!

  32. Kudos for posting to help raise awareness. We’ve had issues with my daughter being bullied on her phone. Text – bullying, I guess. Any form of bullying is just unacceptable, always.

  33. I teared up watching the interview, I am so glad he was inspired to do something to make a change. Cyber bullying is so rampant and really needs to have penalties.

  34. Very, very great and much needed post. People can be so horrible about things they don’t understand. I wish people could just not be so judgmental when someone is different than they are!

  35. That is so awful 🙁 I don’t understand what could compel someone to take the time out of their day to bully others virtually. Have they nothing better to do?

  36. It is very sad that Shaq, a man with such a large influence, would openly make fun of someone for his appearance. It’s so wonderful that Jahmel has responded in a positive manner. At least HIS mama raised him right.

  37. I can’t believe the amount of bullying that still goes on in this world today, it’s sad and it’s cruel. What makes it worse is that celebrities participate in this as well, seeing as how Shaq was just in the news talking about that Clippers coach and how it was wrong for him to say what he did, yet he does this?? I lost tons of respect for him.

  38. Gosh, I really have no idea what to say. It is so easy to pick someone and start making fun of them for personal amusement. I feel sorry for Shaq if that is the only way he knows how to entertain himself – at the expense of others. Beauty is definitely diverse and I have no idea why a few people think they are so much better than others.

    I tweeted your message. I really hope he apologizes and is sincere about it.

  39. All of this is so beautiful! Thank you for standing up and for being a voice.

  40. Thanks for sharing. I had no idea about the Shaq thing, but I’ve been seeing a ton of bullying lately.

  41. It is so sad that a man of Shaq’s status would stoop so low. He should be encouraging people to embrace their differences not make them feel bad about them.