Living in the Caribbean, I was taught as a kid to respect not only my elders but also those in authority. Respect became a part of my life and I respected everyone until they they wore it out.
Arriving in North America, I was surprised to see that respect was not as forced fed as I was used to it being. Everyone seemed on the same plain. Old, young, teachers and students, there were no differentiating. At first I was aghast. If he said that in my country, he would get such an ass whupping…How could she talk to her grandmother/teacher like that? Then I got used to it.
Getting used to it didn’t mean I forgot what I was taught and followed the disrespectful crowd. No, I got used to seeing the lack of respect. No one seemed to make the obvious connection that lack of respect goes hand in hand with criminal behavior. Rape, theft, molestation, all direct manifestations of the lack of respect by the perpetrators. I am not saying that having no respect means one is going to commit a crime but committing a crime is a result of not respecting the victim. You can’t dispute that.
In my work place, I give due respect to those in authority. I do not get confrontational unless I feel I have to be, and then I still maintain a respectful attitude. Unfortunately, many of those who are in supervisory or managerial positions tend to abuse their power. They expect to be respected by their employees but do not believe that it should be mutual. Respecting their minions seems weak and unprofessional. In fact, this is quite the opposite. Humbling yourself to be able to respect someone who is ‘beneath’ you is a show of strength. Some consider it sexy.
Respect is dying. It’s not quite dead yet but it’s terminal. Unless it is resuscitated, we would continue to be selfish savages. But again, that’s just MY TAKE.