Respect is a very powerful word.
In todays world, the calls for respect is important and is the latest trend in American society. Environmentalists want us to respect nature, foes of abortion and capital punishment insist on respect for human life, people demand respect for those being discriminated against because of their gender, sexual orientation, age, religious beliefs, or economic status demand respect both as social and moral equals and for their cultural differences.
Understanding respect is the key to breaking down many communication gaps that exist in society today.
When people fail to understand respect and disrespect one’s cultures, traditions, values and history -there is where the gap in communication and break in cooperation begins.
For years, African Americans were treated with great disrespect.
History tells us that when we were ripped from Mother Africa and put in stock and chains, sold and shipped to plantations all over the South to work for nothing.
Our families were torn apart, our native tribes, traditions and tongues were forcibly taken away and many of us were whipped, lynched and killed because we sought freedom.
During segregation, Blacks were disrespected and forced to sit at the back of the city bus, could not eat at lunch counters, had to sit upstairs in movie theaters and could not shop freely with Whites in stores. It is a fact that we had to use separate toilets and water fountains in public facilities like court houses.
Blacks were educated separately from Whites and for years Whites justified the practice under the policy, “separate, but equal”.
Living through some of it and witnessing the visible signs of racism, prejudice and the disrespect Blacks suffered at the hands of people who did not care an iota about Blacks well being was the real deal.
Today’s Blacks have no clue of the real dangers of disrespecting Black history and Black culture bring. The lack of knowledge of Black history and the suffering, pain and sacrifices many Blacks endured cannot be lost on this or the next generation.
The key to the puzzle is making people respect Black people by standing in unity that under no circumstance will be allow our people, our children or our history be trampled on.
Recently, the Houston Astros media office decided to be brash with me in a short conversation about press credentials to cover the teams Black players and their contributions to Major League Baseball.
It was a simple request and the conversations that followed led to the Houston Astros telling me about issuing passes to “people they trust” and “people they know”.
The dialog that followed led to them questioning our newspaper, motives and journalism qualifications. To make a long story short, it was disrespectful and insulting and seems to happen because we are a Black community newspaper covering news from a Black perspective.
We do not have to justify, nor do we apologize for what we have been doing for the community as a publication for the past 19 years. No one is going to insult or disrespect this newspaper.
The Houston Astros, the city of Houston and others who support the disrespect of Black Press, are disrespectful of our Black culture, history and traditions too. We demand respect.
They do not understand and need a real lesson in sensitivity and understand the meaning of R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
We teach children to respect parents, teachers, and elders, school rules and traffic laws, family and cultural traditions, other people’s feelings and rights, our country’s flag and leaders, the truth and people’s differing opinions.
However, growing older, our youth rebel because much of the effect and meaning of the RESPECT wears off and is lost because many in White America demonstrate complete Disrespect and Hypocrisy and resentment about the Black Press, Black history and Black institutions.
The conflict comes when the affluent children grow up to run cities, sports franchises and corporations, teach schools, own businesses, hold political offices, and raise more children who end up repeating the same cycle of disrespect to Blacks.
You Reap What you Sow.
It is time to get it right Houston, Texas and America.
If you teach it, live it and give it, you will get it returned to you 25, 50 and 100-fold…
It’s about Respect…