By Roy Douglas Malonson
“We all require and want respect, man or woman, Black or White. It’s our basic human right.”
– Aretha Franklin
Respect is something most people want, but not everyone is willing to give. In these modern times we live in, respect appears to be a rare commodity. However, this hasn’t always been the case. There was once a time in the Black culture when respect was an automatic-given. Black folks didn’t just respect White folks because it was basically unlawful to do otherwise; but there was a great level of respect from one to the other as well.
Back when I was coming up, we were taught to respect everybody. Although our parents placed a special emphasis on respecting our elders, leaders in the community and those in authority positions; we knew that we had better not been caught disrespecting anyone regardless of who they were. One of the going mantras in my day was, “Don’t go out and shame the family name.” Statements such as these are seldom heard now and if they are heard, obviously it must be going in one ear and out the other. So, the question becomes when did it all change??? If you really want to know the truth, it started with integration.
We MUST Understand when Black folks started mixing and mingling with other races, we began to dilute our values at an attempt to fit in and mimic the majority. Many of us got beside ourselves and started talking back and sassing our parents like we saw our counterparts do. Many of us decided we didn’t want to raise our children the way we were raised. These factors in connection with many others led to Black folks losing the level of respect we once had.
Now, here we are several decades past integration and there are those we can’t pay to respect others or themselves. Nowadays, everybody wants to lead, but everybody can’t. Nobody wants to follow. Nobody wants to respect, he or she that does best and that is crippling us as a people. Because when many of our youth display the same attitudes as other races, they find themselves in a heap of trouble. In many cases this trouble has proven fatal. The list goes on… But, at the root of it all lies integration.
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