“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
There are areas in our life that giving and getting respect is easy; people are quick to give respect to people who have something they need or have accomplished something in their life that impressed them, even if that person really isn’t worthy of it. It’s like respect is an unspoken rule, whether it is genuine or not, it can be built when there is a mutual exchange of something. That’s the whole idea of “To get respect, you have to earn it”, which is reflective of the definition, Respect is “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements”. (source)
So then, should we have respect for people we don’t know? How about respecting someone who owes you nothing, and you owe them nothing? That, my friends, is the question. I would like to think that deep down inside, as Anne Frank said, there is good in everyone…but let’s be honest, our human nature can be self-centered and self-serving, so we should be skeptical of who we respect… except that is disregarded when it comes to the dollar bill. Most people respect the dollar regardless of standards. That’s why whenever someone asks, why doesn’t anyone pay attention to X (i.e. let’s say the black community), the response is often that we don’t have the buying power to “buy” respect, because people are not necessarily giving out respect freely, in comparison to the Jewish community. This makes me think of the debate over Dr. Dre’s 70 million dollar donation to University of Southern California and whether he should’ve given it to a black college (which I disagree). He’s able to give his money anywhere, but whether he was giving it to USC or a black college, to me that money isn’t going to the community it’s needed most, to kids who grew up just like him. Dr. Dre himself, doesn’t respect his community enough, to reinvest in it. Or does he? Is that one example, a demonstration of a lack of respect.
There are people who genuinely care about the poor, which is why politicians use it as a selling point, but if put in a situation to truly help a poor person in a one-on-one interaction, they often pass that opportunity. The other day, I was biking around in Austin, the city where I live, and I saw something that I rarely see in other parts of the country but often in Austin, a runner, stopped in conversation with a homeless person, listening to his story. People often talk to homeless people when they give some spare change or a bite to eat, but this runner was doing much more than that, he seemed interested in listening to the man’s story, and it touched me, that throwing money at something can’t always solve the problem, and sometimes you just have to listen, and that’s what respect is all about: LISTENING! Yet, we do less and less of it each day, because we don’t respect one another. Even people who say they “understand”, sometimes really aren’t listening!
In the continual fight for equality (even in 2014), explaining to a person why the death of Eric Garner was wrong, regardless, of any illegal activity (i.e. counterfeirt cigarettes), doesn’t automatically imply that fighting for his justice, and others, is anti-police. The movement is against police that are racist and unnecessarily killing black lives, because IT IS happening. But they don’t want to realize that, and are too busy protecting their own and fixing the problem, and I think it’s out of a lack of respect. Just think if they same amount of white young men and women were being killed unjustly by cops how would there not be an uproar, but that comparison is futile, because it’s not happening. That’s the thing, it’s not happening for a reason, and to deny it, is disrespectful to not just black people, but too all people. And honestly, it’s mostly disrespectful to what officers stand for. When police talk about the most vulnerable people in society, it’s often not the people fearful of crime in the large houses in the suburbs, it’s often the ones who find themselves in poverty stricken environments.
The current movement that is going on in this country is not to disrespect the Police, but in fact, to bring respect back to an important part of this country. If the people do not respect law and order, there is no room for reason. There is no denying that there are officers who are not respecting the people they are hired to serve, and vice versa, but we ALL need to be standing hand in hand in this movement. Black, white, blue, democrat, republican, Christian, Jew, Muslim.
A few weeks ago, Garth Brooks made headlines for canceling his appearances, because he didn’t feel comfortable promoting himself during all the protests and uproar in New York. He didn’t offer a position, or a stance in the fight, but that “America was hurting”, that my friends was respect, a recognition of reality that many people are not giving today in this battle between #blacklivesmatter, police brutality, the duty to protect and serve.
There is a lack of respect for different views, and the inability to see truth for what is and isn’t. I honestly see it all the time. I don’t mean to over simplify a scenario, but a couple of weeks ago, I was at a NFL game surrounded by the opposing team’s fans, and as many people know, bad calls only happen against the “other” team. If you are an avid sports watcher, you know that person. But as I was standing there, and a call was obviously made in favor of my team, and it was CLEARLY the right call (not being biased), but there were fans adamant that the call was wrong, you honestly would’ve had to been blind to disagree. I stopped and realized, this is what America feels like. There are people who would argue bad referee calls till their dying day, even though they are obviously right to the human eye. So just imagine if you were in a stadium with 400 million fans and they were just like that… they only chose to see calls for their team – this, my friends is America, no respect for anyone but “their” team.