Podcast: Respect

Amy Lo: Hi, my name is Amy Lo.

Nicole Chiang: My name is Nicole Chiang.

Sarah Lew: And I’m Sarah Lew.

Chiang: And today we’re going to be talking about respect. So Merriam Webster defines respect as a high or special regard for a person or a thing. So do you guys think respect is based on a person’s actions, individual actions, or a person as a whole.

Lo: Well I think it’s a combination of both. Obviously there is a great deal of respect that you need to take into consideration when you value a person. For example, when you look at actions you should look at how they portray themselves to others. Whereas for their reputation, this type of respect can be something that is taken into account from a distance or perhaps if you know of them from someone else. But either way, respect can be given in instances as long as you have a clear understanding of that person’s behavior and actions.

Lew: Yeah, I have to agree. Because respect is a combination of both their actions and their actual selves, it really depends on how you see them and what they do that causes you to judge them in that distinctive or certain way.

Chiang: Yeah I definitely think and agree that it is a combination, but going along this line of thinking, it’s also possible to respect a person’s actions but not the person themselves. People that you don’t personally respect can produce things that are very respect worthy. For example, Hamilton, who cheated on his wife, that isn’t as respectable as a person. But he was able to create a financial system that is very long lasting, and that is very admirable.

Lo: I think that when you judge anyone based on their actions and their reputation as well as their self, there is a deal of separation that is involved between the three entities because you have to account all of them in conjunction when you are making your basis. But I do think you can respect someone’s actions over their person and vice versa. Ultimately, you do have to consider those separate parties against each other. For example, even if I judged someone based on their actions and give them merit for it, if their personality or themselves and how they are in other situations is in a negative light, then perhaps my view and respect for their actions would go down.

Chiang: Yes, that’s definitely true in light of recent events. Even if an actor is very talented, a lot of people choose not to watch their movies or support them anymore because their person has issues.

Lew: But this also goes with what causes people to lose respect, because gaining respect can be as hard as losing respect. If you see someone in a certain way for so long, and they do something that is negative or bad or against your beliefs, will you instantly lose respect for them? Will you think of them in a different way?

Lo: I think to answer that question we have to first look at what makes us respect someone. What I would use as my criteria for giving respect is how they are able to portray themselves in their actions, reputation, and person. But I do see how this may differ from person to person. Some may value a certain criteria over the other.

Chiang: This brings us to a very famous phrase, “respect your elders,” and there are certain things that people think automatically qualify you for respect. Do you guys think that there is actually anything that makes you merit respect immediately?

Lew: Well, if they have the same belief system or they have similarities with you, then you would probably respect them because you agree on their views. But if they disagree with you or treat you in a different way, then you probably won’t see them as someone you respect.

Lo: I think respect is a really subjective view, or really really subjective qualification for someone. I think that it really depends on your perception and how you’re seeing the world and your world view, but I do think there’s an objective set of actions that qualify someone for respect, whether or not we know what it actually is. But I do think there exists some inherent knowledge or inherent sense of why we treat others a certain way.

Chiang: While I do think it’s a lot easier to respect people with similar belief systems to you and similar thought processes, I do think that, giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, it’s best to respect people and have them lose it, instead of waiting for everyone to gain your respect.

Lew: I do agree. I think you should respect everyone for who they are, even though at first you might not know what they really believe or what they really believe.

Lo: But sometimes, we do immediately lose some respect for people, based on their first impression. I don’t think that’s a proper way to do so, because what you may see in the first time in a person’s personality or reputation may not hold true to what they actually act like in other real-life situations.

Chiang: Yes, that’s definitely true, so I think it’s really important to keep an open mind when considering how much you respect someone, because it’s definitely a very fluid sense and it can change very quickly because people’s actions can change really quickly too.

Lew: In conclusion, would you say that to respect someone, you should know who they are and what they stand for before making a judgment?

Lo: Yes, that is definitely something to take into consideration, you should have a knowledge of someone before you give them respect blindly, but at the same time, you should also offer them the chance to earn your respect, rather than to quickly lose that opportunity.

By Nicole Chiang and Sarah Lew, Opinion editors and Amy Lo, Media editor-in-chief

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