Evesdropping is rude, we all know that, but sometimes we can’t help but hear what the people around us are talking about. Sometimes it’s funny, dramatic, or even sad. But what happens when what you overhear is incredibly offensive? You can’t really say anything because you were listening in, but you don’t want to stay silent because it goes against your moral code. I’m going to share some experiences I have had from accidentally overhearing conversations.
We have all been there when that one stranger is in front of you ranting about politics, religion or something else where everyone and their mother thinks they are 100% correct. At one point I had the pleasure of over hearing a man going on and on about how much he hated how former President Barack Obama made him so angry because he was “born in Kenya” and not America. The urge I had to verbally slap this man with actual facts was overwhelming, but because of common social courtesy I kept it to myself.
A similar event happened when a friend of mine was seated in a restaurant and over heard a small dinner party, fueling each other’s fires on how freedom of religion only applied to Christians and Christian faiths. He kept his opinions to himself because it would have been impolite to comment on something that was not directed toward him. It was their private discussion after all.
In the Student Union Building at North Idaho College, I have heard countless opinions from other select groups of people. I have heard racists comments, hate on certain political parties (both Liberal and Conservative) and what I believe to be worst of all, I hear cruel and harsh remarks on women.
I have heard “men” say that women who hang with them owe them at least oral sex. I have heard “what a hag, she didn’t age well” from wrinkly washed up old men who have no room to talk. I have heard so much negative and poisonous passing thoughts, but allowed them to pass with a heavy heart and crawling skin due to social construct.
From afar it seems clear. Stand up for the victims of this verbal abuse! But the message instilled in us from a young age tells us that we must respect others and respect the societal values that our ancestors formed. We had no choice in them.
I personally have been pondering this conundrum for quite some time now and I think I have officially disregarded such paraxial values in situations such as these. Respect for those being disrespected and disregarded is far more important than respect for those who have none for others.
So pick your poison, do you keep your mouth shut for the sake of respect? Or do you stand up for those around who are being disrespected?