What does respect mean?

Sometimes people use “respect” to mean “treating someone like a person” and sometimes they use “respect” to mean “treating someone like an authority”

and sometimes people who are used to being treated like an authority say “if you won’t respect me I won’t respect you” and they mean “if you won’t treat me like an authority I won’t treat you like a person”

and they think they’re being fair but they aren’t, and it’s not okay.

--Autistic Abby on tumblr, April 2015

"Respect" is a word that is thrown around by the most privileged, to try to reinforce and enlarge the inequality they need to survive.

So when you hear, for example, that #BLM "disrespect" the police,  please think of Abby's formulation and be aware: you are being told that the black citizen is lesser and that they must submit to arbitrary authority.

Of course, even then they will not be respected as people.  The essence of this kind of unjust privilege will always include breaking treaties and contracts.  Ask any of the now-bankrupt subcontractors who worked on buildings for Pumpkin.  Or any Native American.

h/t Kottke

This article was updated on May 9, 2023

David F