I missed this story, but my mom told me about it. During or after the George Zimmerman case, one of Tres Von Martin’s friends was interviewed. Mom said that the woman called Zimmerman a derogatory name and a bunch of her friends cheered. She was accusing him of being racist, so she was asked, “isn’t what you’re saying racist?”
My mom said that she denied it and her explanation was that it was a generational thing. Her generation (my generation) just call each other names. We’re just mean because it’s fun and the effect it has on others doesn’t matter because it makes us laugh.
I have a friend who teaches at a dance studio. She said that the kids have absolutely no manners; when they ask for things they don’t say please, and when they are given things they don’t say thank you. They didn’t listen, and some were bullies. Of course there have always been bullies, but it doesn’t make it right.
She said that the parents are even worse. I don’t remember exactly why, but I think the main reason was that they were selfish and got angry when my friend couldn’t do certain things for them (I think they wanted ridiculous things). These people had young kids, which meant they were in their late 20’s or early 30’s; not much older than I am, and they weren’t teaching their kids any manners.
I have noticed and my parents have noticed that some people my age are completely disrespectful to teachers, parents, and adults in general, and they’re even meaner to each other. I was taught from day 1 (4/15/93) that I was supposed to be nice to everyone. I was taught that if you don’t have anything good to say you shouldn’t even open your mouth. I was taught to do good by others and to love them because that was what God said to do. I was taught to respect my parents as well as my friends and to make peace not war.
So how come I sometimes feel like I’m the only one who got that memo? What that girl on TV said was really awful and ignorant, and the fact that people cheered really makes me angry. These people are representing my generation on television, and this is what they come up with? It’s a huge over generalization, and it alienated people like myself and my friends. We pick on each other to a degree, but we know our limits. There is a line, and we don’t cross it because we respect each other.
I don’t understand why respect is such a hard concept for some people to grasp. I suspect it’s partly a familial thing and partly a self defense or self empowerment thing. Some people probably never learn it from their parents, so they don’t pass it on to their kids. Others act disrespectful either to look cool or more powerful to others or to convince themselves that they are.
There is a status quo in our society, and there are smaller versions of it within social groups. People are going to act in different ways depending on how they perceive the status quo. As alluded to above, some people act disrespectfully to try and rise in the status quo or perhaps to break it down. This is a personal rebellion. This can help people gain reputation or power in some groups, but it the bigger scheme of things it’s generally just immature at best.
Respect and humility are actually what break down dividing lines. Being nice is actually what makes people like each other. Love is what helps people find friends in unexpected places. Being on top or being cool isn’t as important as one might think.