There's a new song on the radio from the group "MAGIC!". They sing, "Why you gotta be so rude? Don't you know I'm human, too?" The words are set to a reggae beat and it's quite catchy, I must say. The first few times I heard it, I was jammin' to the beat and didn't really pay too much attention to the lyrics.
But the more and more I think about it, the more I think it begs a great question: Why do people have to be so rude?
I don't know if society's rudeness has always been at an all-time high and I just never noticed it before? Or does the rudeness stem from the rise in social media where anyone is free to say anything they please and their words just magically drift out into cyberspace? Have people just become more rude than they've ever been?
The most recent example in my own life was a comment made on my radio station's facebook page directed right to me. I try to genuinely be a nice person and therefore have smudged out her name and profile photo because it's not my intent to ridicule her as she did to me. But my hope here, is that you as a reader, will take my message in this writing and make the world a little bit of a nicer place going forward. Hopefully, a little less rude.
On our show recently, my co-host and I discussed the Washington Redskins pro-football team and their trademark revocation by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. We had what I would consider a very intelligent conversation in an open forum where people could freely give their opinion in a non-combative format. As I always say on the show, "We're all friends here."
Both my morning show partner and I gave our thoughts. You can listen to the entire dialogue from the show HERE, including calls from our listeners. The following is the nutshell, recap, non-verbatim version...
My co-host said that he struggled with this ideology: If it's not ok for that football team to call itself the Redskins, why is it ok for the Atlanta Braves or the Cleveland Indians to have Native American mascots? He wondered why it's not an all or nothing decision.
What I said (and of course, this is paraphrasing for lack of space): I grew up in Ohio as a Cleveland Indians baseball fan and therefore own a great deal of Cleveland Indians fan gear (hats, jerseys, etc.) that have the Chief Wahoo insignia on them. Whenever I had worn my Cleveland Indians attire, it was in no way meant to disrespect anyone. As a Cleveland Indians fan, that particular cartoon logo is a beloved icon of our team. But I am also not a member of a Native American group and so my opinion on whether something is disrespectful or not, probably doesn't matter. I truly wouldn't know how it felt to be on that side of the issue.
We had a Quick Poll posted on our radio station facebook page with this question: WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON TRIBAL MASCOTS? We also had a direct link to the local news story concerning the Washington Redskins decision.
And among the many posts came this one directed at me:
Now, have I ever made factual mistakes or grammatical errors while on our live radio show? Of course. I'm human. But if I mess up or speak incorrectly, I try my hardest to correct those mistakes. I'm not sure why I deserved a comment like that when I simply spoke about what I had firsthand knowledge of, my life as a Cleveland Indians fan. I guess that's not what she heard.
I just find it ironic. We have this particular topic- this very sensitive topic: To not offend and insult people (Native Americans or any other culture, ethnicity, etc.) and how we can remedy those offenses if they are occurring in today's world. But in this social media instance, it's perfectly fine to insult the girl on the radio. That just seems contradictory.
Listen. When I first got into the business, one of my former bosses told me, "Some people are gonna love ya. Some people are gonna hate ya. Don't take things personal." And I totally get that.
But the question still remains: "Why ya gotta be so rude?" Don't you know we're humans, too?
There have been many interviews in which celebrities (actors, singers, and the like) say how horrible it is for them to pick up a magazine or simply go onto the internet and see the constant bashing of their weight, their relationship status, their family, something they've said that's been taken out of context, or their career. And yes, for those of us that are in the public spotlight, we've chosen our career. No one forced us to host a show, record an album, or star in a movie. But we're still people, nonetheless.
There's always going to be critics and critiques. But again, "Why ya gotta be so rude?"
Some friends of mine who anchor the television news have told stories about getting hate mail - hate mail - because of a shade of lipstick they wore. Or an outfit. Or a new haircut. Or a few extra pounds. REALLY?!?! That's what people care about? I love make-up as much as the next girl. But some days my hair is flat. And some days, I have a pimple. And most days, I wish I could magically take off a few pounds. Thank goodness, I guess, that people can't see those things through their radio speakers or I'd probably be getting hate mail, too.
My hope is that in the future, we all realize that just because we're behind a keyboard or just because we're posting anonymously online or in a letter, our comments can be just as hurtful as something that's said directly to someone, whether they are a celebrity or not. Why can't we all live out that mantra we learned as little kids? You know the one about not saying anything if it's not something nice?
Don't you worry about me, though. For a petite little lady, I have very strong shoulders. No critic would be tougher on me than I am on myself, so I'll be just fine. But for those other innocent people who don't deserve to get bashed or ripped apart for something they have no control over, just remember: they're humans, too. And can't we treat each other with a little less combativeness and a little more kindness, respect, and compassion?
It would be a much nicer place to live for everyone if we'd stop being so rude to each other.