Okay, let me get this out of the way: If you see yourself in these words while reading this article, then take a look at what you are doing and how you are doing it. I’m only talking about some disconnects I notice in a lot of people these days, I’m not speaking about ANYONE in particular or specific. So check your knee jerk reactions and think.
That disclaimer out of the way, let me get the meat of the article out there.
When is the last time you actually stood up for what you say you believe?
I’m not talking about on social media like Twitter and Tumblr. I’m not talking about signing some petitions on Care2, nor donating some money to the cause of your choice, but actually calling someone out on their behaviors and their actions that affect others.
For instance; at one time I was working at a hotel in the dead of night to replace the computers in their entire hotel offices with new ones. There were about ten of us working on this project. I was one of two people who were responsible for taking the boxed up components, unboxing them and putting them in an area where the others could grab the computers, the monitors, the keyboards and so on and take them to the offices and install them.
Needless to say this made a gawd-awful mess. There were boxes everywhere, styrofoam pieces from the padding breaking, plastic bags and more all over the hallway where we were staging the computers.
I was very conscious of the housekeeping staff who would have to clean all this up, so I made dang sure that I got as much of the trash up as I could, because I’ve done the housekeeping thing in the past and I know that’s it’s not only hard, but it’s also thankless. So I cleaned, put up the boxes, broke them down and really tried my best to contain the mess as I was doing the job.
While we were all taking a break, we were in another public area, an atrium on the second floor. It was me and about five other guys who were sitting around, snacking and drinking some sodas. I made it a point to get up and thrown my trash away. This was about 4 AM and the housekeeping staff was going nuts with the additional set of messes we made with the replacements, kicking up dust, the staging area and dumpsters. So I was making sure that my personal trash was put in the proper locations so they didn’t have any extra work.
Next to me some guy opens a candy bar as he’s walking by and tosses the wrapper on the ground. I lost my cool. I grabbed him, turned him around and proceeded to read him the riot act on how rude it is to do that to the housekeeping staff who were nearby. His thing was that it was their job and they were paid to do it, so why should he throw his trash away? I spent the next five minutes dressing him down and making him pick it up and throw it away. Now note, it was one candy wrapper. Not a huge thing, but important enough that I didn’t feel that they needed the extra work. And I saw it in the eyes.
This is the kind of actions I’m talking about. It’s cool to go and retweet an article. It’s good to go in your blog and to talk about how to treat others who need and deserve respect. But do you actually LIVE it and when you see some jerk on the bus harassing his girl to the point of tears, do you call him on his misogyny? Do you stand up and say it’s not someone’s place to start bringing up 9-11 when the person is a Muslim? Do you get on somebody who is obviously letting their decisions be guided by the color of someone’s skin?
Most of us don’t. It’s hard to stand up and call someone out for rude and bigoted behavior when there’s no benefit to ourselves. It’s hard to stand and defend the translady who is on the ground bleeding because someone else attacked her for being trans, and it’s hard to expose ourselves to ridicule for defending someone who is different from us.
But let me ask you this; can you say you really are living your beliefs if you don’t? If you, as a man, DO NOT call out the asshole in the office who is making a “joke” about a woman’s tits, can you REALLY call yourself a supporter of women’s rights? If you see someone harassing a minimum-wage worker who is just doing their job, can you honestly call yourself someone who supports the rights of the workers in a service industry? Can you even call yourself human?
And this is the “Standing Up” I mean. Standing up to others who are doing the casual assholishness that makes life miserable for others. Stand up and say something when something offensive happens around you, even if you get nothing out of it, SIMPLY because it’s the right thing to do.
That is what is going to make the world better in the long run.