Due to the speed of technology and 24/7 access to TV and online information, we are bombarded with bad news and ugly attitudes. Add to that, on a personal level many of us are dealing with our own conflicts and frustrations.
Although we aspire to be upbeat, positive and kind, many people are acting out in rude and aggressive ways towards one another. The lack of civility is becoming the acceptable norm.
Center for Folk and Community Art (“CFCA”) wanted to create an awareness of this issue.
CFCA artists brought their “Telling Stories Through Visuals” hands-on writing and art-making program to several high schools where teenagers wrote narratives and created illustrations relating uncivil encounters and described how they handled their feelings and the outcome of their actions or reactions.
CFCA artists then led additional teenagers in discussions about respect for themselves and each other and empowered them to use civil ways to approach conflicts.
Authorized permission to use (c) Gail Sherman Johnson from the album, “Season of the Soul” sung by Gail Warning available on iTunes and Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Season-Soul-Gail-Warning/dp/B001IB5Z9G/ref=cm_sw_em_r_dp_dz_U_uH85AbC390JAS_tt
Normally, when people are rude toward me I try not to pay attention, but this situation I couldn’t overlook. I needed to print some flyers. I went to Office Max. The woman behind the desk looked up at me and then back at her computer. I stood in front of the counter for about fifteen minutes waiting for her attention. All of a sudden, a man came up to the counter and the woman said, “How may I help you?” I got mad and said, “I was here first.” She heard what I said, yet she went on with the man’s copies. I was angry that I was treated as if I wasn’t important but didn’t have an outburst. I went to the manager and told him what happened. He apologized and offered to print my flyers for free. As I reflect on my actions I realize that if I had acted angry I wouldn’t have gotten free printing. By being calm when I was being treated rudely I was rewarded.
Being rude is not always fun but there are times when certain people make you enjoy it! There is this one boy who I actually enjoy being rude to in class, at school and outside of school because of the way his presence makes me feel. He says stuff that is offensive. For instance, he would say that his Gramma has more hair than I do. Or when he sees me walking down my block he says he’s going to beat me up. He makes me feel aggravated and I just want to see him cry like a fat kid who wants cake. So when I hurt his feelings I know how it feels to have hurt feelings. At the end of the day I just want him to respect me.
That terrifying day will haunt me for the rest of my life. That day I was rudely disrespected. It started like a normal day, going to school and doing my work. Then in the cafeteria someone threw a water bottle at me and it hit my face. I looked back and saw a group of boys laughing. I was so mad that my anger took over and I threw the bottle back at the boy who hit me. Then I just ignored him and continued to talk to my friend. Suddenly, the boy came up behind me and slapped me in the face with a piece of pizza. I was upset and could easily have become a hooligan like him, but my parents taught me better than that. So instead, I became the bigger person and just ignored him. Doing that made me feel better.