April 17, 2007


When I was a substitute teacher, there was some sort of verbal exchange going on in the back of the 7th grade classroom. I intervened and must've said something about respecting the students around you -- I don't remember my exact wording, but I'll never forget the reply I got -- and the girl said, "My mom says I don't have to respect anyone who doesn't respect me first." Sheesh. I think about that girl often, especially when I saw one teenage girl who lives in my neighborhood walking down the street wearing a shirt that said "Respect Me!", as if respect is something you can demand without any give-and-take.

This notion of automatic respect is detrimental. You can't preemptively demand respect when you've done nothing to earn it. A person earns respect through his actions and words, not just by saying he wants it. I'm afraid as a society we're starting to get the concept of respect backwards, especially in these days of multiculturalism where everyone is supposed to be respected and revered no matter what.

I thought of that seventh grader today when I read about this poll out of the UK:

There have been calls for a wider debate on whether it is appropriate for the full veil to be worn in public at all. But a Gallup Poll to be published this week found most Muslims firm in the belief that Islamic women should be free to wear it.

While 55 per cent of all those polled thought that removing the veil was vital for integration, only 13 per cent of Muslims agreed.

Instead, they thought that the Government needed to change its economic and political policies toward Islamic countries and show greater respect to Islam.

That last line was the kicker for me. They don't have to do anything to earn the respect, they just should automatically get it. Most British Muslims are just regular upstanding people, but there's still a scary contingent out there that thinks the London bombing was justified and that "Western society is decadent and immoral and Muslims should seek to bring it to an end." Explain to me why people like that deserve respect when they certainly don't give it.

I'm kinda tired of this whole "you must respect me" nonsense, especially from a religion that has major global problems. I think Islam needs to start earning respect.

Posted by: Sarah at 03:40 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 If all the 7th graders were waiting around for someone to respect them FIRST before they gave respect...? It's a Catch-22,isn't it?

Posted by: MaryIndiana at April 17, 2007 04:54 AM (p+YdO)

2 Great post and perspective Sarah! I concur with you and hopefully my children will not be one of those that speaks to adults as that 7th grader did, hopefully I can do a better job at raising them than what that child was offered.

Posted by: LMT at April 17, 2007 06:52 AM (UE7gK)

3 Sarah, Regarding the Muslims, VDH had a great piece on that a couple days ago. IÂ’d link it but for some reason I canÂ’t even open his page today.

Posted by: tim at April 17, 2007 08:00 AM (nno0f)

4 Wow, great post. And that was a great analogy. I had the same issues with my students when I was teaching. I loved teaching very much, but I don't think I'll go back to it and this is precisely why.

Posted by: airforcewife at April 18, 2007 05:07 AM (0dU3f)

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