There is an old saying that you can’t change anyone but yourself … so why is it instead of allowing others to simply live their lives we wnd up with such broad efforts to change other people? To convince them that THEIR way is wrong, and they need to see ‘the light’ and get on course? That governments need to step in and regulate those who live their lives in a way unlike our own?
Why can’t we step back from this and accept that others are different and simply respect and celebrate those differences?
Here is my bottom line: I consider women’s rights to be human rights; race rights to be human rights; cultural rights to be human rights; gay rights to be human rights. And I see not clearer way to show disrespect for someone than to interfere with or take away their human rights.
Since we are in the midst of the Olympics the anti-LGBT overtones still echo fresh in our minds, but sadly that isn’t the only thing. Here are a few:
– In Uganda the President said he will sign anti-gay legislation, which could lead to a 14 year jail sentence for “the promotion or recognition of homosexual relations”.
– In India, the Supreme Court decided to reinstate a colonial-era rule that outlawed “sex against the order of nature,” including same-sex intercourse. Buzzfeed looks at the impact of what is essentially the reinstatement of a law already found unconstitutional. Scott Adams took on the issue in a rare political cartoon above … but many papers wouldn’t run it.</a<
– And in Afghanistan, after 13 years of American war and occupation, Women have gained significant new rights – if now actual equality. Unfortunately, recently they have seen law after law go against women’s rights – most recently passing a law that allows girls as young as 12 to be married against their will.
Not In MY Backyard
It is very easy to look at all of these things and have a distant sense of righteous indignation. But as many of us know, there are plenty of problems right here in America. And as much as some would like to think that we live in a ‘post racial’ society, or that it is time to put ‘race issues’ in the past … there is still an all-too wide swath of America that is deeply racist …
… and they’re going after Cheerios.
Cheerio Commercial ‘Controversy’? – Do you remember the commercial from last year where the little girl asks her mother about whether Cheerios were good for her heart … and the father wakes up with Cheerios on his chest? Here it is to refresh your memory:
So what did you think? My first thought from last year was that in my house our Norfolk Terriers would have long sincejumped all over me and eaten all the Cheerios! But as I learned from Tonya at Healthy Fit & Frugal, there was quite a racist stir – because what many racists noticed was that one parent was white and the other was black.
Yes, and this was in 2013.
And they carried it to the extent that Cheerios had to shut down all comments on the video because of the hate-spewing – what Cheerios (General Mills) said was that they promote family friendly values, and would accept discourse that adhered to certain guidelines, but what was happening was NOT family friendly.
For the Super Bowl 2014 Cheerios bought their first-ever spot, and it brought back the same family, this time dealing with a NEW issue – an expanding family. Here is the ad:
When I first saw the ad (pattern of race cluelessness here) my thoughts were that the parents should have been together talking to the daughter, that the father lacked a spine by bargaining with a dog to pacify the demanding child, and that the parents are doomed if they don’t quickly learn to present a united and strong front as a team. Again, I still had no clue about the racial issues.
I grew up in a ‘Kennedy household’ – my parents were a newly married couple in the early 60s, the dawn of a new era and saw all possibilities. Without it meaning anything special to me at the time, I grew up with a very diverse group around me – it wasn’t until later that I saw how much hate their was around the world. It wasn’t until later that I heard someone in authority say that “all those mixed-race couples should be taken out and shot” … without a smile or even any particular malice; just matter-of-fact.
The reality is that very often respect is the more difficult path – it is easier to quickly pass judgment, to insult and hate those different than us rather than getting to know them, and to selfishly covet the abilities and accomplishments of others.
Here are a few thoughts for trying to bring respect into all aspects of our lives:
1 Show gratitude. Thank people for their assistance and their support on a regular basis.
2 Compliment the achievements of others.
3 Be sincere.
4 Do what you say you’ll do.
5 Offer your assistance.
1 Be a good listener.
2 Ask lots of questions.
3 Learn about the perspectives of others.
4 Pick your battles.
5 Respectfully disagree.
1 Don’t judge people before you get to know them.
2 Decide to like people.
3 If you can’t say anything nice…well, you know.
4 Don’t get mixed up in other peoples’ business and create unnecessary enemies.
5 Reach out to others, showing respect for other people by including them.
1 Take care of yourself.
2 Avoid self-destructive behaviors.
3 Stay healthy.
4 Stand up for yourself.
5 Be ambitious.
Where have you seen appalling disrespect, and what steps have you seen people make to show respect that you find inspiring?