The New Infatuation With Mean

Gina K
6 min readFeb 3, 2021

Kindness is no longer the ideal. Now actions are more akin to gang initiation.

By: Gina L. Kershaw

When I was raising kids just a few years ago, we always talked about how kindness was the most important thing.

Kindness was always an answer to any problem. Every problem.

After the Columbine Massacre in 1999, schools got on the bandwagon and in 2005 they started talking about bullying and trying to prevent it. This ideal seemed to be embraced and supported by everyone.

ALL PARENTS, in fact, everyone we knew, were in favor of kindness and were against bullying of any kind.

It seemed like a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t all people want more kindness and love in the world? Innately, we all did.

Then something happened. There was a shift.

The shift away from kindness.

Around 2017, being mean became acceptable (and even admired).

But WHY did this happen? It was hard to find the answers.

All the conventional reasons why people act mean did not seem to apply.

Most studies equated meanness to a lack of self-esteem.

They said, when someone feels bad about themselves, they will try to put themselves above another person by bringing the other person down. They will bully and say mean things in order to make that other person appear weak or ineffective (while at the same time trying to promote their own ego).

Indeed, this meanness derived from insecurity has been the reason for much of the cruelty in the world. Until now.

Other studies pointed to control.

Some people try to control others using meanness and bullying. They want to be seen as “right,” and in order to do that, they need to point out to others their “perfectness” by disparaging others. This has the effect of silencing others when they might disagree. Therefore, the meanness is self-protective because it prevents opposing opinions from intruding into their view of themselves in the world.

Most of the studies that looked at the turn of meanness were based in a person’s personalized view of themselves and their place in their world.

And since bullying is usually specific to a person or place (personal, school, work, etc.) those acts were usually concealed, done anonymously, or hidden and done in a way that other people did not see.

Until recently.

This new infatuation with meanness is unprecedented.

Sure, meanness and bullying have been around for ages, but this new level of meanness sees people being mean OUTLOUD and PURPOSELY VISIBLE, regardless of any consequence.

Because it is the consequence THAT THEY WANT.

This new level of meanness is similar to a gang mentality. It is more than just making themselves look better than or to control another person.

It’s a Gang Initiation.

This meanness is more like a gang initiation. A voluntary act.

I have seen this indoctrination in action as a criminal defense attorney. In order to help my clients, I have actively tried to explain their actions in mitigation of their actions.

Often an immature young adult — usually 12–16 years of age will commit heinous crimes in order to show their commitment to the gang and to gain the admiration of the gang.

The more heinous and outlandish the crime, the more the gang celebrates the actions of the initiate.

This is a form of jumping-in or blooding-in to the gang.

And in our “once civilized world,” the same thing is happening.

Meanness and bullying that used to be condemned (in the strongest way possible), are now accepted and even promoted. and they WANT IT!

Our leaders are part of promoting the gang.

Some of our congressional leaders have openly (yes, openly) claimed that school shootings have been made up.


They have openly attacked and even belittled survivors of these mass-school shootings.


And a Capitol police officer was murdered.


It’s not that simple.

The Gang Controls.

It all makes sense when it is considered in light of how a criminal gang works.

As they realize what they have done, they have done what every prior gang member has tried to do. Distance themselves from the gang without success.

They cannot.

As they try to step away, they realize the danger that they (and their family members are in).

And so, even though they seem to have seen the light, they turn back to defending the gang. This is happening right now. Because they are afraid.

Just look at the timeline for Graham, McConnell, or McCarthy. Their actions speak for themselves.

Imagine yourself in this same position.

These leaders are terrified to express their true views.

These leaders that have actively been jumped into the gang are not able to later change their votes based upon their conscience.

As they have expressed their views, they see their own lives, their children’s lives, and the lives of the people they love threatened.


How has this initiation consumed middle-America?

I am horrified to admit that even my “Christian” friends and family have said frightfully hateful things over social media. They consistently support the abhorrent vilification of our leaders.

Their hatred is palpable.

Only a few years ago, they would not even recognize themselves now.

Regardless of religion, all people should act according to their own soul — in the higher purpose of themselves and others.

And this has always been the standard… in the past.

Now, if you say or do anything that represents your true stance based upon the condition of your soul and your true feelings, you expose yourself to the most disgusting display of human degradation possible.

If you say what is in your heart, you risk threats against yourself and all the people you love.

Why isn’t Every. Single. Person. alarmed by this?

I direct this comment to the members of our Congressional and Senate Assembly that have resisted the pull of the gang — I support and applaud you.

It has taken extraordinary courage to stand up for truth. Thank you.

I will still stand with kindness.

The kindness principle that used to be so valued, has somehow dropped off the radar. It is no longer important. I mourn this.

Now, only the gang and power matter.

I mourn the people I once admired who have turned their kindness meters off completely.

Only a few short years ago, these Congressional Members and Senators would have been called-out and taken from these revered positions.

How is it possible that these people are now accepted and have the gang cheering them on from the sidelines?

Because that is how gangs work.

It is the “Lord of the Flies” madness in action. Savagery and evil are taking over civilization and people can’t seem to control themselves.

It is hard to see this madness take over people I love and once admired. I’m not sure even what to do or say.

Ask any parent who has seen their child enveloped into the world of gangs. It is very difficult to reclaim them.

The gang member is completely committed and will do anything to defend their position. The indoctrination and hold of a gang are powerful.

I see it happening before my eyes. But I will hold on to hope. And kindness.

Because I still believe that kindness is always the answer.

Kindness used to be the strength of our nation. I hope and pray that it will regain its strength someday soon.

Gina Kershaw is a former criminal defense attorney turned online business strategist. She coaches women and helps them find opportunities to work from anywhere so that they can ditch their soul-sucking corporate jobs. She has authored two best-selling books and has been a featured speaker at several business conferences including the always sold-out Alt Summit. She can be found at



Gina K

Gina Kershaw is a podcast host, online business strategist & mindset coach for women. She can be found at