A World Without Racism is Respectful
Respect And Its Relation To Status
It is without question that status plays a significant role in how people are respected. Unfortunately, in many areas of life, if one is perceived to be of lower status, they are treated as lesser than someone who is perceived as higher status. No matter one’s status, everyone wants and deserves respect. Some believe respect is directly tied to status in human nature, effectively denying respect toward those who are not successful. This notion is not accurate, as studies tend to point toward a base level of mutual respect leading to greater respect and communication between individuals, regardless of status.
The role of mutual respect, despite perceived social status, is pivotal in creating lasting social change. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Social Psychology examined whether or not it was possible to achieve social cohesion and collective action, despite imaginary barriers between those of differing social status. The study concluded that, as the majority and minority groups found more commonality, they held greater respect toward one another, increasing their tendencies to work together. While this is just a singular study, it shows there is a real chance for unity between groups based on common traits, no matter the social status.
This notion of respect, regardless of status, is not merely a solution for a select few cultures, but rather a solution for all cultures. Hillary Herdman wrote about respect in an article from the Samye Institute, an organization centered around buddist philosophy. Herdman states that while those of high status tend to garner more respect in human culture, it is not to say respect is limited to those people.
“If we treat others as more important than ourselves, we begin to gradually loosen the sticky attachment to our own wants, needs, and point of view. When we open up to respecting others, we reduce our pride. When we appreciate the qualities of others, we also feel less envious and jealous because we can rejoice in those talents.”
Giving someone respect means to acknowledge and see their viewpoint. As more respect is given, people gradually become less self-absorbed, and are more open to different ideas.
Status has and will always be a touchy subject to discuss. For many, status is intertwined with lifestyle and personality. Asking people to respect the ideas and opinions of others who may hold wildly different beliefs can be challenging. By finding commonality, societal barriers can begin to be torn down, and respect can be shared.