TimBookTu Editor's Page

RESPECT and the Lack Thereof

It doesn't take but a few clicks of the television remote to find numerous examples of the deterioration of society. From reality shows to political pundits (the incessant talking heads) to sporting events to many other situations, there are countless examples of people behaving badly. These represent instances where respect or common courtesy for others are lacking or totally absent.

One of my pet peeves is the numerous reality shows where "friends" are constantly engaged in arguments, gossiping about each other or in shouting matches where every other word may be an expletive or derogatory term. Some have even descended into physical encounters. While I understand that this makes for good television ratings and it puts dollars in the coffers of the networks. But the sheer number of them is sending out the wrong message that this type of behavior is the norm. If I had so-called friends such as those found on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Basketball Wives and other shows of this genre, I would be sure to distance myself from them and find a way to develop new friends. They even have ministers and preacher's wives acting in similar unflattering ways. Does every difference of opinion have to deteriorate into name calling and talking about someone behind their back?

I know this may be a reflection of how things are in some communities but it doesn't mean we shouldn't have examples of how things should and can be. Perhaps if the number of television shows that featured people demonstrating respect and common courtesy were more prevalent, then it wouldn't be so bad to have the present conglomeration of "reality" shows. At least we'd have some balance in what's being presented or some other alternatives.

I believe that the messages that these shows send out are having a negative impact on our young people. Since many of them are not being taught respect, manners and courtesy at home, they learn their social interactions from television, videos and social media. Even for those who are being taught the right thing, these examples of disrespect in the media are fighting against the right things that they know they should be doing. They're constantly bombarded with celebrities, reality show stars, athletes, political commentators and even politicians showing their lack of respect for each other and even themselves.

In my youth, one did not walk into a room without speaking to those in the room -- especially if they were your elders. As ridiculed and disparaged as the Madea character may be by some critics and viewers, one thing the character does portray is that she demands young people give respect to their elders. It's done in a humorous way but it is also a reflection of how some of our parents, grandparents and other elders responded when we didn't say "hello," "yes sir," "yes mam," and "thank you." After enough chastisements and whippings with a switch, belt or extension cord, you learned to say the correct things when interacting with adults. And using foul language would really get you in hot water and a good butt-whipping.

Too many parents, some of whom are barely adults themselves, are raising their children without teaching them about respect for themselves and others. They tend to think that it is cute for the child to act a fool and be disrespectful. Cursing, twerking and wearing inappropriate clothing are being taught to toddlers. Others teach their children to be confrontational in order to gain what they consider "respect."

If we learn to respect ourselves and respect those we encounter, we'll be on the road to solving some of the other problems in our communities. For those who are guilty of being disrespectful and feeling that you never get respect, you should adhere to the old saying, as trite as it may be: If you want respect, you must give respect.

Parents, elders and adults, we're going to have to step up our efforts by showing and correcting young people when they aren't demonstrating the proper amount of respect. It was done by our elders when we were younger, now we are the elders and must teach them the same.

As for the reality shows, I'm hopeful that one day they will all run their course and something more positive will take their place. I know, I know...wishful thinking.

© Copyright 2014.
Memphis Vaughan, Jr.
Editor and Publisher, TimBookTu

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