The Hierarchy of Respect

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Man Expressing his Respect                                                                                                 GIF ©2014 Tiara Chiaramonte and Nadya-Agrawal [CC-by-2.0]
This blog is composed of possible, but fictitious conditions and situations. There is no discrimination or bias, but rather analyzation of a common idea and thought that often pops up in my head and leaves me daydreaming.

What makes any one person better than any other person? Is it the wealth or fame? Maybe the aesthetic or talent? Or maybe it is simply the perception of others. Maybe the respect that one deserves or receives fluctuates depending on the public. While one person may see somebody as honorable or great, another may see them as dishonest and cruel. Why is true? Is it because of the difference in childhood environment or morals and values or is it merely just a gut instinct that is specific to the individual? In my opinion, the view that someone may have on somebody else is somewhat biased towards the viewer’s position. For instance, if the viewer is in a favorable situation, they may see the person of authority as great and helpful while someone within a poor circumstance may perceive the authoritative figure as abusive and unfair. Either way, the viewer’s condition plays a major part in the ultimate decision. This hierarchy of respect that wavers in accordance with any one individual’s feelings is evident in reality.

The entirety of our lives we execute these types of judgments and act with these emotions and thoughts in check. For example, a player on the sports team may not get much time to play, but although she views her coaches as unjust and cruel, she continues to treat them with respect and honor when she actually wants to express her rage. I observed this behavior during the week of Bell Week. Of course, I am not stating that this behavior is necessarily good or bad, but I am simply stating what I saw and trying to make a conclusion off of it. Sure, there are certain situations when you really have no choice or say and it would probably be best to do as you are told. However, during this week especially, many people interact with this ever contradictory hierarchy of respect.

It is Monday morning at school and you are dressed in your finest silk pajamas, but you notice someone without pajamas on and without any motivation at all. You confront them, and lightly shame them for not dressing up and having any school spirit. There’s where the hierarchy comes in. What position are you in to be able to shame others? Even if you are in an “authoritative” position in the eyes of others, this person may see you as a mere stuck up and arrogant student. This paradox also occurs the other way around. The student who didn’t dress up may something like, “I don’t have to dress up to have school spirit,” and follow up by shaming the bedhead student for dressing up. But then again, what position is he/she in? Sure, it may be confusing, but it does occur quite often, especially during this week. Now imagine yourself as a member of FVHS Senate. It is the Saturday and Sunday before Bell Week, and both ASB and Senate have been working extremely hard in order to pump up the school. However, as a Senate member, you may not agree with one of the decisions of an ASB member, who, in this situation, is considered by nearly all as your superior. Therefore, the perspectives of others will almost always be detrimental to you. Despite your disagreement with the member, you continue to listen to what they have to say and do what they ask of you. Why? Why do you not argue your point or perspective? Why do you only obey them? Is it because it is you that wants to be in that position of power? But does that position really mean anything if it is wrong in its decisions? Are you able to put aside your pride and well-being in order to achieve your goal? Why is it that others respect the authority of the ASB member even though they are wrong? What is the difference between two students, both the same grade and school? What makes one more powerful than the other? Is it the fact that one dressed up while the other didn’t? Or maybe the fact that one holds the title of ASB member? What is the difference? Why is one have authority over the other? This is the reason why. The people of power have the support of many. The student who dressed up and the student who didn’t dress up is an example in which the division of power is very tight. However, the Senate and ASB situation showed a clear-cut division of power that aligns itself with the ASB member. Does this position really mean anything? Of course it does. It means that the member was able to demonstrate to those around him/her that he/she is a responsible member of society, something that is an important characteristic for leaders. In this way, to be in authority truly is an honor, but it is an honor that is given to the people, by the people. Once again, this blog is composed of completely fictitious circumstances. I myself am a member of Senate and greatly admire all the members of ASB and do not discriminate against other students who do or do not dress up.

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Photo ©2013 by Celestine Chua [CC-by-2.0]
~ Samuel Le


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