The other day, XFactor posted this article here: http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Some-thoughts-on-Racism-and-Respect-20121108. In it, he raised some issues about respect and race relations, and I think he did a great job of it though.
However, there seem to be some of the commentators who still don't understand how respect works, and how it has very little to do with skin colour.
Here's how I see it.
Respect starts with self-respect. Having a high enough regard for yourself that you are always striving to better yourself and your circumstances.
You may argue that some people are too poor to have self respect, to which I have to say that's BS.
You can be poor and still have self respect. You can CHOOSE to clean up your home and surroundings - even if it is a shack. You can CHOOSE to learn to read, and there are programs that can help you for free. You can CHOOSE to learn - it's as easy as opening a book.
You may not be able to choose the hand life deals you, but you can choose what you do with it, and that's self respect.
Then there's the issue of the respect of others. This is trickier, because in this case, you can't choose.
It's the other person who chooses to respect you or not. How they choose to decide is up to them. You cannot demand respect. You cannot guilt people into respecting you. You cannot use fear to gain respect, and you cannot make them pity you - pity is a very different animal to respect.
They don't have to like you to respect you either - but you do have to be worthy of respect.
If people don't respect themselves, their communities, their lives, and the lives of others, then why would they be worthy of the respect of someone else?
You also can't buy respect. Malema has more money than me, but do I respect him? Nope. I do, however, respect the guy who stands on the street corner every morning with his safety boots on, waiting for a job for the day.
Why do I respect that person?
Because they're doing something to try and better their lives, and that, in my book, will always be worthy of respect.
The gist of it, I suppose, is that people who try to use fear, guilt, the well worn race card or anything else to blackmail respect out of anyone else will never get the respect they want.
Shouting, screaming, protesting, necklacing people, burning tires and hacking people up with pangas also won't get you respect. Disgust yes. Respect? Never.
Respect is not a race thing. Until everyone understands that though, and understands how self respect and the respect of others truly works, we'll remain at an impasse.
So, commentors who seemed to think that you were born to be respected, it's time to wake up. The only person who can earn respect is you. And you're also the only person who can lose it.
XFactor, in closing, you have my respect. You and every other South African who feels the way you do. Let's hope that one day, those South Africans will outweigh the other kind.
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