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Why Tilikum 'Blackfish' documentary should make workers reevaluate teamwork

 Killer whale 'Tilikum' appears during its performance in its show 'Believe' at Sea World on March 30, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.
Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

Vegans and vegetarians, especially those who primarily live the lifestyle for moral reasons, could bust a b-boy stance after watching the documentary "Blackfish." If there was ever a documentary that needed to prove just how awful whales are treated at entertainment parks, such as SeaWorld, this one did the trick.

There are extremely different views on the killer whale Tilikum. Whether viewers believe the ponytail theory, Tilikum rebelling because he was stolen from his family or even just hating the owners, there will be some who will go to SeaWorld unphased by the controversy, others who will boycott SeaWorld because of the documentary, an uninterested group who just isn't into water sports and entertainment, and the undecided group who enjoys water parks but still sympathizes with the issues of captivity.

And while there will be those who will say kidnapping a child and then forcing him to be entertainment is not the same as stealing a whale from his family to do the same thing, there is something else that stood out in the film.

It was the scene in which the trainers talked about why Tilikum was separated from other whales. He was constantly attacked, bitten and bleeding because of the female whales being territorial. Of course humans can't speak whale so they'll never actually know what the real beef was between the group.

However, one possible guess is the punishment that was used to train whales. When beginner whales didn't get or missed the tricks while other seasoned whales would, trainers would put them in a box together without being fed. And seasoned whales would attack beginners all night for not catching on to the tricks quick enough. Not only is this a severe way of training something to learn a trick, but it's an easy way to resent other whales as well as trainers.

The same thing can happen within a workplace or home environment. If people are verbally or physically attacked for not being able to catch on to new training as quickly as the next person, this can create a stressful environment. And with stress comes mistakes. People become anxious to do better, and instead of being happy that they've accomplished a task it more often than not becomes exhausting relief.

Just as whales can't teach humans how to act, humans can't teach whales how to act. But both groups could learn a lesson from being so similar when it comes to this particular issue.

The next time someone gets frustrated because another person needs more help or does something to aggravate him (in school, at work, during a sport or even at a social gathering), before flipping out and going into attack mode, step back and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would attacking him lead to better results than talking to him?
  • Should I really be mad at him for trying to learn a new strategy or think back to a time when I didn't know how to do this task either?
  • How do we work together so the boss doesn't punish us both?
  • How do I think I'll feel after I'm mentally or physically abusive? If the ending doesn't change, wouldn't it be a better idea to calm down before approaching him?

It's understandable to believe why whales were so frustrated. Maybe Tilikum just refused to do the silly tricks. Maybe he missed the signal. Maybe he wasn't sure how to correctly do the trick. Or, maybe the killer whale was so frustrated with being snatched from his family to entertain people for an hour or two and wiped his fin of the whole thing.

With people, the same rules can apply. Sometimes when someone can't or don't master a topic, their issues may be bigger than they appear. But calm, cooler heads will accomplish much more than hot tempers.

Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all of her latest Chicago dating, sex, marriage and work relationship entries, or subscribe to her Chicago Relationships channel at the top of this page. Also, follow her "Let's Talk About Sex...Health" Pinterest board.

Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all of her latest Chicago vegetarian entries, or subscribe to her Chicago Vegetarian channel at the top of this page. Also, follow her "Diet & Exercise" and "Vegetarian World" Pinterest boards.

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