Respect, entitlement or endowment

Published 11:55 am Monday, March 5, 2018

By Demetrius Moffett


In a season where, sexual harassment is being exposed at an amazing rate, I had an encounter that sparked a conversation with several women in my circle to gather understanding from the female perspective.

In line to pay for my breakfast, I overheard a group of young men in their mid-20’s using what has been called locker room talk, speaking under two young lady’s tops.

I thought to myself why are they disrespecting these young ladies.

I felt uncomfortable and was about to speak to these young men and encourage them to keep their thoughts and views to themselves.

As I moved towards them, I became exposed to the image of their motivation to speak. These two young ladies clearly did not have on bras. This experience disturbed me more than the young men’s comments. No harassment should be tolerated. The young men should have withheld their comments. I believe if the young ladies had heard what the young men were saying they may have felt disrespected.

I polled a variety of women in my circle, if the young ladies had heard what the young men said, do they have the right to claim disrespect? Is respect (consider worthy of high regard) an entitlement (a right to benefits) or an endowment (to provide with something freely or naturally)?

The ladies helped me to understand that respect is relative. These women may have respect for themselves that may not be at the levels of others.

We judge respect by the respect that we have for ourselves. The ladies also helped me to understand that in certain setting ladies wear certain attire in hopes to receive certain attention from certain persons. If they receive the attention from an unwelcome person(s) then they feel disrespected. However, if they get the same attention from a welcomed person no disrespect is felt. Is it fair to say we usually feel disrespected when others don’t treat us as we see ourselves? What does respect look and feel like?

There are certain moral characteristics which promotes respect that most agree.

We respect the rights to bear arms; do we respect the right not to lose our life via gun violence? We respect a person’s style; do we respect decency?

Simply, do we have respect for respect? Respect is like currency, some people work for it, some people feel they are entitled to it.

Respect, entitlement or endowment?