Evil and sadistic European captors (and subsequent racists to the present) were dedicated to destroying the sound self-love present in Africans brought to the Americas as Slaves. As coping mechanisms many Slaves had to play the role of demeaning their Selfhood. Some of those “lived down” to the demeaning role they played and thereby came to believe they were not lovable and were not to be loved even by oneself. Other roles during slavery necessitated Slave mothers demonstrating anti-love appearances to their children in hopes of not having their children sold away from them.
Unfortunately, these bonding reasons for the apparent anti-love practices were not known to their children and that lack of understanding caused a perpetuation of the anti-self-love practices as an accepted custom. So how can this pattern be broken? The answer embraces the Sankofa approach (return to African Tradition to learn how to prepare in the present in order to go forward into the future).
Preparation starts with the Philosophy of Life (POL) of African Tradition. Out of the POL comes ones Character, Self- Esteem, World-view, and Paradigms (the elements one draws on automatically in making lifeshaping or life-changing decisions). This is intimately tied in with Spiritual Energy and that means all of ones decisions based upon “Feelings” (and not Emotions) will cause one to do what it takes to “win the war, if not the battle.” Then one can appreciate the good and the loving within oneself, even if one does not like the bad things one has done.
An individual ‘s lifestyle built around never having been self-loving is always filled with damaging habits, attraction to the bad, and unhappiness. Since Self-Love does not permit one to punish oneself or to be mean to oneself, a primary act in building Self-Love is to forgive oneself and forgive the Trigger persons involved.
Forgiveness is done to remove mental barriers placed around ones Love Platter so as to thereby move onward with a free and wholesome mind. This is followed by shedding those self-defeating habits that adversely affect oneself and significant others; taking care of ones health; and learning to properly manage money so as to avoid constantly being in a state of desperation.
Self-Love demands selfreliance and not expecting others to supply what one can supply for oneself; demands looking into the future to anticipate and solve problems before they arrive; demands learning how to think so that one knows what is important and can prioritize that; and demands knowing how to select what is relevant to work on first, regardless of what other people say. Self-cultivating ones Higher Self is an ongoing Self-Love pursuit.
Determining the extent of ones Self-Love involvement is done by being tested through trials and tribulations, as when “everything” is bad, going wrong, or “it all seems hopeless.” The weak “give up” and “let go” of life. The strong reach deep down into their “Soul” to gather its Spiritual Energy; then get up so as to take charge and take control of their Selfhood; look for all that is “Right”; and allow Self- Love to direct them out of trouble. Such “tough love” self-discipline stops ones downward slide; turns oneself around; starts the climb back up toward a sound thriving goal; and, in the process, prevents one from doing any harm to oneself or to anyone else. It is an act of self-love to discover ones talents; to fully develop ones talents with the best effort and the best teachers possible; and to find that niche for ones talents which enriches oneself, ones family, and the Black community.
Nevertheless, for those whose lives have been harm-oriented require a transformation in order to rise to a level higher than doing or permitting harm to be done. This transformation is like entering a cocoon where the change over will be slow and uncomfortable to the point of wanting to “give up” and return to old ways. Self-love will supply the Spiritual Energy package to keep going and to deal with the “friends” that will be lost in the process. But Self-love also opens the door to making better friends and a thriving lifestyle.
Perhaps the ancestor of the “African Elder Chair” and the “Golden Stool” (Ashanti throne) dates to “the Afrikan Chair” commonly used by pre-dynastic African cultures (e.g. Kush, Meroe, and Axum) of the Nile valley (Asante, K., The History of Africa p95). During Kemet’s Old Kingdom (5660-4188 BC) Afrikan chairs or stools in various Pharaohs’ pyramids were found intact and well preserved. Such were deemed in Ancient Kemet to be cultural symbols of Leadership, Wisdom, Strength, and Spiritual authority. Their Kemetic authority was based on principles of Maat (i.e. truth, justice, righteousness, reciprocity, balance, harmony, and order etc.) and their “seat of power” designation was attributed to the Pharaoh’s divine rule.
Subsequently, according to Akeem K Jamal, Afrikan chairs or stools in modified forms served as a means of passing on wisdom and knowledge from one generation to another. For example, when a father gives a stool to his son or a mother gives a stool to her daughter this signifies the continuity of life and a process of handing down Afrikan traditions. Another modification occurred in highly stratified African societies with traditional kingdoms, such as that of the Ashanti (Asante) of southern Ghana. Here, Afrikan chairs or stools had utility and tradition purposes; were symbols of power; and were works of Art (R.L. Anderson, Art In Primitive Societies p43).
The “Golden Stool” stands out as important for Ashanti unity and stability. Its story originated with the Confederacy’s formation by a number of previously independent city-states. To seal the union, Okomfo Anokye, chief priest, adviser, confidant, and paternal nephew of Osei Tutu (the first king of the Confederacy) promised the king and the nation he would call down from the skies a super-natural stool of solid gold which would enshrine and protect the soul of the nation. As a precondition to fulfilling his promise, however, he demanded the ancestral (blackened) stools, state shields, state swords, and other regalia of all the member states be surrendered to him. After this was done, he buried them in the bed of the Bantama River in Kumasi to ensure no item of regalia in the new kingdom could have a longer history than the Golden Stool and hence take precedence over it.
Also, by depriving the formerly independent states of the relics of their respective pasts helped pave the way toward a new and broader union. When these conditions were met the Golden Stool appeared, falling from heaven onto the lap of the king. It was proclaimed that the Stool be treated with the utmost respect. Anokye ordered that locks of hair, nailpairings and rings belonging to the principle chiefs present be surrendered so as to be driven into the Stool, along with such mystical objects as the skin of a viper. He also spelled out a formal constitution for the government of the Ashanti and outlined a code of moral laws to be observed throughout the country. Today, the Stool is considered super-natural (and needing to be fed). To it are rendered honors on par with those received by high ranking authorities.
The story of the “African Elder Chair” is that when a wise elder of the community visits a home the best chair is provided for him/her and thereafter no one sits in that chair in honor of the wisdom imparted out of it. That “Chair” signifies acceptance by the community of that elder to provide advice and to settle conflicts or dilemmas (Bakari). To receive the “African Elder Chair” award is a high honor. Akeem K Jamal, who recently made a presentation, said: “The gift of the Afrikan chair was given to Dr. Joseph A. Bailey II for his continued leadership, wisdom, and purpose in preserving Afrikan history and traditions. The Afrikan chair’s symbolic nature was derived from the collective purpose that was passed on to Dr. Bailey II by his endearing elders.”
Child-rearing practices in Africa have always been preparation for taking an honored role in adult society. A very high priority of Ancient Africans was for youth to recognize the dignity in each of God’s creatures and creations and to show them proper respect. With fellow human beings this was done by having good relations with and demonstrating good behaviors. Adults were also aware that all newborns are primarily instinctual beings brimming with God given natural and automatic self-preservation reactions—reactions of a totally selfish nature and with no consideration for anyone else. Hence, in Africa and among other “We” cultures (mainly “Colored People’s) of the world proper child-rearing practices have always focused on getting children to expand beyond this total selfishness by embracing family members; and then those outside the family; and then Nature.
Because so much is involved in trying to overcome the instinct of total selfishness, African parents used a variety of methods in a manner that made them what some might call strict disciplinarians.
What all Ancient African families had in common was parents asking their children to give up excessive assertion, aggression, and self-indulgence for a mature and honored adult role that would bring self-fulfillment. Children were taught to step outside their selfishness; to go in the direction of spiritual self-growth; and to have compassion for sentient beings (any creature with feelings). However, the right and proper way for children to learn social rules has been to observe, imitate, and accompany adults obediently until such time as they have acquired all the skills necessary to independently embark on an ethic geared to the good of all people. When these were not sufficient, various forms of punishment immediately followed any child’s insolence. Spankings, a common method of punishment, were done without delay under the belief that any abeyance would fail to register cause-and-effect relationships; fail to get children’s attention as to the significance of what they did wrong; fail to make lasting impressions related to being human and humane; and fail to keep them from forgetting. It was only later that an explanation might be necessary.
The custom has been that children are spanked (the preferred term is “caning”) on the buttocks or on the palm of their hands with a cane (which orthopaedically I do not recommend).
Because children are highly honored in African Tradition, the abuse of children in the form of whippings or spankings done indiscriminately on any part of the child’s body was not tolerated by members of the community. If done, the abusers would encounter the wrath of family members, if not fellow villagers. Yet, that community did not dictate to families how to rear their children. African children were not deemed liable for mishaps since it was understood by the community that any child is capable of such acts. Yet, to this day the parents have the responsibility to reprimand the child for not applying common sense (Donkor, African Spirituality p93). A consistent and reproducible result of this African approach has been that of wellmannered youth who give respect to their elders, their parents, their peers, and to all others of God’s creatures and creations. Although these comments about Ancient African spanking practices are deserving of considerable thought, no matter how the following comments sound, I am not taking a position for or against spankings.
Rather my intent is to stimulate thought in light of the increasing undisciplined nature of today’s youth and to strongly state my opinion that it is not Euro- Americans place to dictate what Black people should and should not do because they do not know what is best.
The subject of acceptable disrespect among Black American youth is in disarray. However, its story originated from three different sources—African Retentions, European Convicts during slavery, and the amalgamation (interbreeding of different ethnic languages until they became one) by African American Slaves, with later stylizing by post-slavery Black “Dudes.”
The word “Dude” is used to distinguish these “Black poets” from the remainder of the Black population.
Although the word “Dude” is of unknown origin it has been used in the Euro-American west since 1883 – and earlier in the East in relation to dapper dress or an overly dressed man. Chances are that “Dude” relates to “Duds”—a word for clothes that was brought over by colonists from England. With Black folk it applied approvingly to a “Cat-Daddy” who dressed flashily; then to those who spent time on street corners admiring young women; then to jazz musicians who engaged in jive and cool talk with such finesse and flare as to be called a “Hep-Cat” or a “Hipster”; and most recently to any member of ones own circle or peer group. This brief historical progression simulates the atmospheres and scenes for where most acceptable disrespect verbal exchanges have occurred and still occur.
But the original art of hurling acceptable disrespect, including invectives (abusive language), at ones opponents is an ancient one— and in all cultures. Ancient African Griots were oral historians who traveled about, learned the villagers’ various indiscretions (i.e. lack of good judgment), spruced them up into amusing verse and song, and then entertained audiences with them. This very early form of Signifying is said to be rooted in the mythic African folklore figure of “Esu,” or the trickster and (among others) called “Anansi” (the spider) in the West Indies. Similarly, in some African and American Indian cultures, the symbol for the trickster is the spider who spins out intricate plots of practical jokes to trap victims. Such victims get caught because the sticky web remains largely invisible to the inattentive eye. Signifying is built on this web concept of amusing and clever traps. The African “Indirection” (abstaining from directness for the purpose of avoiding crises or avoiding the face-threatening). of insulting another is approached as if “stalking” the opponent’s most vulnerable sensitivity. The idea is to fashion a “web” that traps by means of skill and a style intended to arouse the audience’ interest. One of its many outward radiating web “threads” is the Ancient African “Call and Response.” For example, a West African field worker would sing out something signifying in order to get a “back at you” form of humor from fellow workers. Apart from that Africans had a Tuareg and Galla game of two opponents cursing one another until one man lost his temper—the declared loser. A significant contributor to the content of what was to later be part of the acceptable disrespect used by Black American Dudes came by way of the slave overseers.
A large number of them of the “bad elements” of Europe who populated the New World had been released in the 18th century from European prisons, especially in the British Isles, on the condition they would go to the Americas. As a result, they took jobs as overseers on board slave ships and on plantations in the Americas. The slang of those ex-convicts consisted of the vocabulary of the British underworld and as overseers their demands and instructions to the Slaves were primarily of an offensive nature.
The predominance of these word surrounding a small ration of “neutral” English words imparted to the Slaves for job assignments were designed for the Slaves to think of themselves in a self-degrading and self-destructive manner. Since this was a foreign language to the Slaves most of these bad words were initially used without a bad context. Later, for some Slaves, they were internalized and attacked self-esteem props.
An important way that White Superiority, White Privilege, White Ethnocentricity, and the Negro-Caste system of African American slavery are fired as cannonballs to Black people is for Europeans to assume, without permission, that they have the right to call Black people by their first names. Naming is a big deal to Black people.
Starting far back in African history young people willingly used titles to indicate their deference to older people and not to do so was such a high degree of ill-manners as to call for serious punishment. When Africans were brought to the Americas as Slaves they had no concept of disrespect. Since then Black Americans have been victims of cruel racial name-calling to the point that the overwhelming majority feel vilified, as if they are being spoken evil of, whenever they are not given the proper respect regarding their names and titles. The brute caste custom of White people calling Black people by their first name began in slavery when first names (given by the captors to replace each Slave’s highly esteemed African name) were all they had. The reason is that since Slaves were property, they lacked the personal identity that would demand a last name. Yet, it was a major taboo for a Black person to call White people by their first name. The thinking of Whites behind both caste practices was that Black people never grew old enough or achieved enough to slough off their designated inferior role. Hence, by the Slaves calling Whites by a title was a constant admission of Slave inferiority. By contrast, Whites’ pathological need to feel superior was propped up each time they called Slaves by their first name.
I remember as a boy when Whites instructed other Whites to never refer to a Black man or woman as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” This began to break when businesses found it was financially beneficial to give “Mr.” or “Mrs.” and titles to their leading Black customers. For the rest of Black people—including the most mature ones from the standpoint of personal and/or social achievement-Whites used such appellations as “preacher”; “uncle”; “elder”; “aunty”; “sister”; “Buck”; “George”; and “gal” (which is the derogatory term many White physicians and other White professionals still use in referring to Black women of any age). These hate-filled appellations dismissed Blacks as being dignified human beings and symbolically relegated them to the foolish role of a plantation stereotype created out of the captors’ deranged minds.
It does not matter that White people address themselves in this manner— which seems to me to be a feeble attempt to try to establish some sort of facade friendship, as is done by politicians and con-artists. This is even taught students in business schools and that shows their total blindness to cross-cultural etiquette. To continue to not use ones title or to show ill-manners by calling a Black person by their first name implies that the plantation stereotype is still active—and I resent the implication—as do most Black people! Personally, I expect no less respect than is shown to a king or queen since they—or whomever—are not any better than me. If such disrespect is shown, the person will not get what I might otherwise give them or, in a business situation I simply refuse to do business with them thereafter. Employees in my orthopedic surgical practice were instructed to use titles and last names for every patient. Furthermore, they were to avoid even asking Black people if it was okay to call them by their first name because this puts the patient at an immediate disadvantage.
If the patient says “no” this may cause the patient to have the afterthought of possibly being sabotaged by that staff member. This simple act of always using their titles and their last names caused them to give me previously unspoken “pearls” that cleared up diagnostic mysteries. In relationships with my friends (including my White friends), the reciprocal use of first names between us has been earned by a track record of mutual respect as equals and serves as a mark of intimacy.
The number of vicious, disrespectful permeations (i.e. diffusing into everywhere and into everything) pertaining to Black Americans by Euro-Americans and the magnitude of each and every one constitutes a Maafa (“immeasurable catastrophe”). The problem started centuries ago in Africa when Africans extended Ma’at type attitudes and respectful behaviors to friendly appearing but evil Europeans who instituted unimaginable bruteness to them and to Amerindians (who were also destroyed). Europeans then used African’s Nonaggression orientation to enslave Africans, rape their women, suck riches out of their land, take their land, steal their brilliant civilization and cultural achievements, leave Africa in shambles, and generate civil wars among Africans. This same thing is happening every day to scores of Black/Brown peoples of the world. Although there is no cure, Step I in self-protection is to really know the who and the what concerning causation and perpetuation of the problem. Study African American slavery because not much has changed in the perpetrators attitudes or practices. Today’s educational tracking system becomes an example of institutional racism, a way of sorting kids on the basis of both race and social class. It takes amazingly little for Black youth to be put in dead-end situations (e.g. “special” classes and alternative schools) where they are lost forever as productive citizens.
Step II is for Black people to return to the state of inner strength/soundness that characterized their Ancient African Ancestors-called the Sankofa concept (Bailey, Special Minds). I saw this in action by the Black teachers in my boyhood Wilson and Greensboro, North Carolina schools who were successful with us Black students because of their common feature of caring so much about us—about our character, about what we did, about how we appeared, and about how and what we learned. Hence, we put forth extra effort to make them proud of us and, as a result, we increased our self-confidence and willingness to assert ourselves. The respect they showed included the determination to provide for our well-being and, in turn, we passed it on to family members and neighbors. Such a demonstration of respect was lacking in the White teachers who replaced the Black teachers when school integration occurred in 1954. Thus, Step III is for Black parents to get heavily involved in every aspect of their children’s schooling. Do what it take to promote academic excellence— things like constant reading, doing homework, and exposure to mind-building things. Understand what is going on. For example, when Black persons seek admission to a university, apply for a job, or hunt for an apartment, simply by being Black means they are viewed as threatening. Studies show that job applicants with “white” sounding names are 50% more likely to receive a call-back for a job interview than applicants with “black”-sounding names, even when all job-related qualifications and credentials are the same. White women are far more likely than Black women to be hired for work through temporary agencies, even when the Black women have more experience and are more qualified. If in a job or training situation and deliberate racist deeds are done to a Black person, for the Black to complain is viewed by Whites as being uppity, whiny, playing the “black card” or the “woman card,” and a troublemaker. Whereas Whites are equally or more likely than Blacks or Latinos to use drugs, it is people of color (Blacks and Latinos mostly) who comprise an extremely high percentage of the persons incarcerated for a drug possession offense. Despite the fact that White men are more likely to be caught with drugs in cars (on those few occasions when they are searched), Black men remain four times more likely to be searched and jailed. What is being disrespected is a Black person’s or Black people’s dignity. Step IV is to be far, far more alert to disrespect and taking action in the form of protesting, boycotting, self-asserting, and “block” voting.
Like Respect, there are Spiritual and Earth World categories of Disrespect. The “Dis-“ in “Disrespect” is a prefix that means the opposite of; lack of; not; apart; or away from respect. Because of its effect on the Law of Sympathy, Black people have a lower tolerance for their children—or for anyone— being disrespectful than perhaps in any other culture. African Spiritual Disrespect is an assault on ones Dignity and that is anti-Love— whether to God, to human beings, or to other creatures or creations. Earth world Disrespect varies with the group or with the individual and consists of the opposite of what the person or group deems to be respectful. Regardless of its features, Ancient Africans said Earthly Disrespect is “the eating of ones self-esteem.”
Examples included defiant behaviors, such as children disobeying their mothers’ requests; being unwilling to cooperate with their mothers; and ignoring their mothers during a communication interaction. In pre-colonial Africa the chances are that Spiritual and Earth World disrespect rarely occurred. However, both were invariable during African American slavery. The evil and sadistic European captors worked hard at destroying the sound selfrespect the Slaves brought in from Africa but were extremely hypocritical about it. The Euro-American style hypocrisy, developed by the European Knights of the Medieval Ages, is well known to Black, Red, Brown, and Yellow people alike. For example, Europeans said that every citizen’s individual rights are known to be grounded in an act of God. On paper, they called this the Preamble of the American Declaration of Independence (1776): “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” This is strictly an Ancient African concept and yet Euro-American society has never lived up to this preamble, or even tried.
The magnitude of disrespect shown by Europeans to the Slaves and its long term repercussions have been unequalled in world history. One of its ramifications following slavery was intra-Black social dissention (which limited the development of group unity) and perpetual intra-group conflict, jealousy, and mistrust—each of which, in the face of rejection and oppression, bred disrespect for the self and for others like the self. The persistence of this pattern explains much of the envy existing between Blacks and for the acts of Black-on-Black violence.
White Americas continue to show Black people a lack of respect; rudeness; impoliteness; and discourtesy on all rungs of the social ladder. Such a subdued savage mindset shown by Europeans is a major cause of their overwhelming fear in daily living. Europeans’ disrespectful expressions or deeds related to threats to or disturbances or destructions of Black people’s dignity has generated chronic anger, especially in Black “Street” youth. But since until recently fear put a lid on retaliation, many afflicted Blacks have used in-home or in-neighborhood individuals as scapegoats.
Preventing all that is associated with first class citizenship is the top form of disrespect affecting Black Americans. Inherently disrespectful is the ethnocentricity stemming from the ridiculous White superiority fantasy (which only applies to White people’s willingness and expertise in killing) and its associated White Privilege (a favored state, whether earned or conferred by birth or luck or by being bought). Both are about disrespect for Spiritual and Earth world dignity related to every human being; to God’s other creatures and creations; and to God. Both put Blacks at a never ending unfair disadvantage while Whites have a never ending unfair advantage— what I call “Math of the Unequal Sign.” The source of both White superiority and White Privilege is the GUN—not intelligence! What is even worse is that this pattern of disrespect will never change because 90% of Europeans have followed a greedy aggressive pattern for 45,000 years.
African Tradition says true Self-Respect is built around the natural Dignity and Divinity endowment by God present in every human being. The first duty of each child is to recognize that he/she possesses those divine sparks of Love which contain the same qualities of that which is present in God, even though lacking the same quantity. That spark was imparted when God breathed life into the individual and with that breath was God’s Love. The mere Appreciation of ones own Dignity and Divinity results in one being elevated to the realization that one has the potential to be a human-god. What is necessary to reach that potential is to function at ones best in human society by following Ma’at principles (putting Love and Selfless in action). This requires discovering ones mission in life for that grounding contains ones talents to make that mission a reality. That works the‘ other way—to discover and develop ones talent leads to ones mission. In African Tradition, a failure to even try to get on the path to ones mission is a sign of great disrespect to ones own dignity—and such a loss of respect means the person, the person’s family, and the village is viewed with pity and disgrace because the person was not taught the ways of the Ancestors. The person must make the appropriate apologies and that must be accepted before atonement rituals are performed and things made right.
European Self-Respect means that a person has given thought to his/her behaviors and has justified them in the light of personal and social values. Without some selfrespect it is almost impossible for a person to maintain the respect of other persons for, by suggestion, his/her attitudes toward him/herself influence the attitudes of other persons toward him/herself. During slavery the European captors dedicated great efforts to shattering the self-respect of the Slaves.
Following slavery it was from a mixture of Euro-American and African Tradition that most Black Americans fashioned concepts of respect. Most Elite—and the Omnibus Black Americans to a lesser extent—have embraced the European concept and designed their lives accordingly.
Mainstream Black Americans retain much of the African Tradition of respect. The Enslaved Minded and Black Criminals operate under the shattered pattern of self-respect taught to the Slaves. If Black Americans followed African Tradition principles, they would stop using offensive language (Bailey, Self-Esteem); would stop degrading each other (e.g. male/females); would stop envying each other’s success; and would band together so as to create, enhance, or maintain a sense of community possessed with “Black Power” strength.
In my view, Self-Respect is present when: (1) one esteems who one is based upon ones Dignity and Divinity; (2) recognizes ones self-worth (including the honoring of ones Dignity and Divinity) as well as ones self-value traits (skills in the material world); (3) attaches to ones Dignity the tasks one does in life and does them in a Divinity manner;
(4) carries those tasks to a level of completion compatible with ones capabilities for the betterment of mankind; and (5) places and appreciates ones achievements on the proper rung of the ladder of importance while not being afraid to face and learn from ones weaknesses and mistakes.
The Step I process is for one to clear ones mind of all negative self-talk—e.g. “I can’t do this because…” This is merely an excuse to hide an unwillingness to venture into the unknown. Step II—achieve multiple small successes every day so that one continually “stretches” ones minds and sharpens ones skills. Both automatically lead to a sense of Self-Reliance. Step III— when one combines Self-Reliance with Keeping Ones Word and remaining Honorable (not lying, cheating, or stealing) one develops Sel f-Trust (knowing you will keep your promise to yourself and honor your commitments). Self-reliance and Self-Trust build a sense of Self-Respect—i.e. knowing you do both good work and important work and then possessing the confidence and determination to make success happen in a dignified, cultured, and refined manner.
African Tradition demands that African people maintain accountability to higher powers (i.e. God)—and regardless of the aspect of life. European Tradition has no such accountability because they follow the teachings of Pythagoras (480-411 BC) that says: “Man is the measure of all things” and not God.
This means that whereas in African Tradition Respect involves things of the “Heart,” in European tradition Respect concerns things of the “Head.” Heart Things embrace Human Love, as manifested by Ma’at Selfless Service. Whatever is anti-loving is not deserving of respect.
“Head” things serve ones best interest. When the word “Respect” came into the English language (c 1380) it derived from Latin “specere” (“to look back at”; “to observe”) with reference to an act of noticing with attention and to give deference with an admiring attitude or at least with courteous treatment (e.g. listen, make thing pleasant, and do what is asked). Out of such considerations sprang the discriminating terms of high regard and honor. At that time and similar to what happened with Dignity, to Ho no r signified an evaluation or estimation as the basis of recognition of the worth (pleasure or displeasure in a Western sense) or value (desirable materialism) of something.
As a result, “honor” was thought of as a fixed price for the purpose of ranking a given person or object on the proper rung of the Ladder of Importance (Bailey, Self-Esteem, p. 16).Whatever was on the highest rung was given the most deferential regard (16th century) because it was of the highest agreed upon quality by European experts or by those in power. This made “respect” a somewhat “colder” term than either “Appreciate” (the European sense being that of a combined value and worth of something) or “Esteem” (the combination of regard, respect, and appreciation). The reason is that “Respect” embraced honor and confidence without any particular feelings whether referring to a person or thing—and was based on the admiration of a person’s desirable characteristics and competence—as determined by one or more observers who used their own man-made standards and criteria. When a person assessed him/herself by these three factors of regard, respect, and appreciation— in personal qualities, in natural and acquired quantities, in character related behaviors, and in work products—the result was ones Self-Esteem. If the ranking of ones Self-Esteem was high, one was said to have Self-Respect.
In 15th century Europe Individualism, Materialism, and Dishonorableness (e.g. the Seven Deadly Sins) were esteemed and the people gave the highest respect to those who did evil things in the greatest magnitude and, as a result, came out winners. Then, as now, they respected the most what they feared the most. It was like an odd game and that “gaming” European mindset continues to this day. The sense of ‘worthy’ respect (e.g. from good social standing and reputation or moderate excellence or fairly good as opposed to that of a spiritual nature) appeared in 1750.
Thereafter, Respect became closely allied to admiration—involving more judgment and less emotion; more intellect and less feeling; and, in other words, more permanent and perhaps the most rationalized sentiment.
Still, the “gaming” aspect of European respect invited people to engage in dishonorable acts in hopes of gaining respect. Typically, in the Western world one must respect oneself before others will show respect. The showing of any sign of weakness by non-Whites, coupled with the “sick” beliefs of Whites that any minority’s (or even lower class Whites) social standards are inferior and less dependable, serves as a “call to action” for Whites to stomp on and even kill the weak person. The same applies to what they respect and envy. This means that although “Respect” is used on a daily basis, when asked to define it people are unable to do so with clarity or conciseness and base what their explanation on what it means to them rather than upon a higher power standard.