The Basics

Okay, let’s talk basic respect right here and real quick.

Basic respect is letting a person finish their sentences.  It’s treating them like a grown adult instead of like a small child.  It’s not talking down to them.  It’s not insulting things that are important to them, such as their religion.

I’m back in school for the new semester, and I have had some really shitty experiences so far.

The first was with a professor.  She’s obviously smart, but she’s just kind of a jerk.  I think she would enjoy being a kindergarten teacher more than a college professor.  I just have a big problem with talking down to adults.  It gives me a big bad case of secondhand embarrassment to hear someone be so condescending to another adult.  If there’s someone sitting in the back row in a bank of computers that can’t be run independently because they’re connected to the presenter’s computer… Shut up.  Don’t talk to him like he’s four and needs to sit in front.  It’s rude.

Oh, and speaking of the word “rude”, don’t dismiss “rudeness” for “honesty”.  They’re two COMPLETELY different things.  Honesty can sometimes BE rude, which is why we have the white lie, but that doesn’t work the other way around.  Rudeness is hurtful, honesty usually isn’t.  It’s not rocket science.

This brings me to my next series of encounters.  I have a couple of classmates (in a different class) who, ideologically speaking, are on the same page as me.  They’re liberal dudes.  Cool, good for them.  However, they’re the most disrespectful people I have ever encountered in a college setting.  They yell over everyone, professor included, and they don’t let people finish sentences.  They interrupt everybody and it’s really difficult because they always get class off-track.

Today, however, this took a turn for the moderately horrific.  It’s a class about interest groups, and we have to do a big research term paper on a group of our choosing.  One of the obnoxious guys picked the Catholic Church, which is fine.  Unfortunately he said that part of its agenda was protecting heterosexual marriage while defending child molestation.  Someone in class got really offended, probably because she’s Catholic.  So what does this guy say?  “Whatever, you’re a child molestation sympathizer.”  I wish I could make this shit up.

Now, I’m gay.  I’m not really the biggest fan of most religious institutions, and that sentiment probably goes the other way here too.  BUT I am also willing to let people have their religious beliefs and do what they’re going to do.

I’m not saying this because I’m some bastion of respectfulness, tact, and wondrous empathy or anything.  In fact, I’m usually the one running my mouth with the first thought that pops into my head because I think it’s funny.  That all being said, I do think these are some experiences that are forcing me to take a long look at how I am, and how I conduct myself and how disrespectful and stupid I may seem to some people.

I hope this does something similar to you.  It doesn’t cost anything to be nice to someone, even if you disagree with them.

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