For someone that has done all this research quoting various people’s opinions on the concepts of plagiarism and bullying, you didn’t spend much time deconstructing Rama’s piece.

After you pointed out the similarities, I read both Rama and Jon Westenberg’s pieces carefully and found the following identical phrases in the writing:

“I Accept…” (headline)

“around my head”

“In the light of”

“I think there are”

“it’s a”

“the second question”

“I know (knew) I could”

“But I”

“I’m going to take”

“After all,”

“I’m going to”

“Because that’s what”

All of Rama’s other writing was completely different.

Jon talked about a number of issues, including white privilege, being a better writer, moving away from click bait and life hacking, and starting a publication to feature deserving writers.

Rama wrote about being a minority and writing honestly.

Rama definitely parodied Jon’s tone and a little bit of structure (yes, he used similar subheads and two bullet points, but the number of paragraphs in each section was not the same, nor the use of pictures), but he didn’t copy large sections of text verbatim while switching pronouns — he wrote all new text with his own sarcastic take on the world we live in.

So I don’t agree that this rises to the standards of plagiarism as defined generally. But is it bullying?

Look at the authors and their positions.

Jon W is a white male, with 24k followers, works as a content marketer and writes about self help and entrepreneurism because it fits into his business model.

Rama is an Indian male, with 5k followers, who writes about all kinds of issues just becuase he likes to write. He doesn’t even have a link to his website in his profile.

Some people have difficulty with this concept, but we white guys, in spite of our personal problems, are still playing life in Easy Mode. (Read the post, maybe it will make sense).

When the people who are marginalized in our society mock our arrogance and privilege, it’s called parody. Rama didn’t attack Jon’s appearance, family, belief system, or his competence as a writer; he made fun of the white guy who was hurt because a few people made fun of his genre of writing, while living in a society where women and minorities are put down all the time.

Have you read the satirical articles written by Morgan Rock Loehr and Henry Wismayer? They are wickedly sarcastic, but they attack an attitude in these life hack articles that seems to say “If you learn my secrets of awesomeness, your life won’t suck so bad.” Any time someone sets themselves up to be superior, that’s pretty much an invitation to become the butt of a joke.

You don’t read about a truck load of Indian engineers going to a bar and bringing some biker gang banger to tears with their cruel jokes. Nor do you read about those same Indians running over the biker and dragging him under their truck until he dies. Could a white guy parody an Indian guy? Absolutely, but it has to be because the guy is being a dick, not because he’s Indian.

Now compare that to the original incident that sparked all of the outrage.

A man copied a woman writer almost verbatim for large portions of his article. She wrote about the emotional subject of being marginalized by a dominant group that also enjoys the privileges of institutional power. The male who wrote his “parody” used it to state an aggressive fringe group’s idea that men are being abused and subjected to unfair treatment because women want to be treated equally.

If your group’s goal is to maintain your rights by keeping the other group in an inferior position, then you are not advocating equality at all.

I think everyone agrees that bullying is not okay. The only problem is that there is no “equal protection for bullies” movement because protecting a bully’s right to bully is a complete contradiction of what society is trying to accomplish.

Written by

Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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