Treat others the way you want to be treated. Not a difficult concept, but one that some people find difficult to grapple with. While some people might seek out the respect of others, they are either unwilling or unable to show this gesture in return.
Sitting in class a few weeks ago, I was astounded to find a group of individuals justify the actions of a particular character depicted in a film clip although there was a lack of respect shown by both parties involved in the interaction. Since my classmates shared similar political views with the person they empathized with, the actions were justified as a means of defense. However, there was no regards taken to the respect of either person and both people were to blame in this blatant demonstration of the sad, sad, state of the society we live in.
Putting all personal feelings aside, we must realize that regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, and age, everyone deserves respect. While it’s hard to put aside nasty biases that many people hold, it’s the only way that we’re going to reach any sort of progression. Take the current political climate in the United States, for example. Due to the heavy partisanship going on at all levels of government, we are in a deadlock of really fulfilling the needs of the constituents that the representatives are elected to advocate for. Instead being persuaded by lobbyists and making a career out of public service, the politicians have no respect for the people they have pledged to fight for – showing that disrespect is not just limited to a few close-minded individuals within the classroom.
Regardless of environment, this disregard toward other human beings is prevalent everywhere. Whether it be such a simple act as littering, being cut in line, or showing general intolerance to the viewpoints of others, it’s impossible to avoid the impudence of some of the people we are forced to deal with.
It only seems hypocritical that some of the people we look upon as role models and leaders are some of the biggest offenders in the realm of disrespectful actions. While there are some people you can always rely on to be rude, it seems that even educated, otherwise compassionate audiences are becoming increasingly more obvious in their unabashed ways of remaining close-minded in a time when it is important to remain open and accepting of different political and social perspectives.
Obviously, the easiest thing is to is remain oblivious to the thoughts and opinions of others, continuing to stomp on toes and demand respect from those we openly disagree with in a malicious manner. However, this is clearly not working. We need to see that in most cases, there is more than one person to blame, however unfavorable the situation might be or the biases we might bring to the situation.
It’s being in a classroom where I expected people to be more openminded and tolerant to different issues which made me realize what a huge issue disrespect is. Usually we associate the act of stubborn intolerance with older people, as frequently heard in stories about grandparents who have voted party lines for their whole lives. It’s sad to think that potentially the younger generation growing up now might be doing the same thing that they look down so heavily upon in their parents and grandparents.
Before it’s too late, we need to take control of the situation. Identifying the problem within ourselves is the most critical step and one we must proceed in doing before we become so overly biased that our own personal lives become ensconced in a political deadlock. There might be individuals who are able to remain openminded, showing a general sense respect toward humankind and those are the people we should look to as role models. The majority of us could learn a thing or two from such people.