The Importance of Respect

Michelle - Moyock, North Carolina
Entered on September 17, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I often see that society on the whole seems to believe in their self-righteousness. I notice that some of the people I come across overlook blatant wrong-doings because they refuse to believe they are wrong. Sometimes I see that myself, and others, forget when we look at different people that we are all the same. I believe that all people deserve the same respect without fighting for it.

Excuses come in many forms but they are worthless. It’s ludicrous to believe that reading the bible and believing in God gives anyone the right to deny others their fundamental rights. It’s insane to believe that just because of race, some deserve better pay or education than others.

There is no right or wrong when forming our own beliefs and we have the right to believe in anything. I don’t believe that it would kill people to treat others with more respect. In fact it’s odd, just how others and I form these cruel opinions based on beliefs. Without knowing their name, where they were raised, or if they graduated from school we naturally pick at them about some obvious flaw. Even worse are the times when I see others playing the hypocrite, getting to know and like someone and then upon leaning some trivial matter, deciding that they are lesser peoples.

As for myself, I was never well known at my school, a quiet nobody who fit in with the other faces. Nice and kind to all, people who knew me enjoyed my company, yet I suffered from the misjudgment of my peers.

When ambling towards the formidable cheese wagon at the end of school I was thrown a hailstorm of harsh words; they pelted me like jagged balls of ice, “Fag! Dyke! Lesbian!” I froze in that moment, too shocked to understand what had happened. One could assume one of two things, either these were horrible people, or I was the horrible person.

I have an identical twin. I have claimed that we do not look alike; although, to some, we are mirror images. I tell others that we are different, especially in dating, she dates girls and I date guys.

We can’t all be the same race, or religion, but we can be more united and respectful. We can be polite and courteous, and learn to respect differences. We can also learn to respect the fundamental rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I am not asking for people to feel acceptance, love, or joy when disagreeing with others, because respect isn’t any of those things. Respect doesn’t mean loving that your neighbor is gay or your boss is an atheist, it’s letting them live without persecution.

I was taught to treat others the way I wanted to be treated. If I and everyone else acknowledge differences, and extend courtesies to others, I believe that it is possible to achieve greater things in this world. I believe so much more can be achieved through respect.