Ah, respect!

Here’s a question, spawned by a recent, saddening event (that I’m not involved in):

Are we obligated to respect those things that our friends respect? Are we compelled to show respect for (for instance) gods that we may not even believe exist? What about gods that in our belief systems are gods that don’t take themselves seriously enough (or aren’t present enough, for the deists in the crowd) to give a damn if jokes are made of their supposed words and actions? Can we not joke about those in the presence of a friend with a mindset different from ours?

Or should kindness and respect overrule personal belief expression in the case of a friend? Should those jokes and forms of relaxation be reserved for when that friend isn’t present to be hurt or upset by them?

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo

Tuesday’s differential equations class was a bit awkward. The professor was attempting to get people to volunteer to go to the board and work on a problem he’d tossed up, and wasn’t having much luck.

He was sitting at the back of the class, and said, “Alright. If no one goes up, I’ll just go, ‘Eeny, meeny, miny, mo, catch a tiger by the’–wait. Why is that ‘tiger’? I wouldn’t want to catch a tiger that way.”

There’s a moment of uncomfortable silence, during which at least one member of the class wondered how a hip, youthful professor of our day and age doesn’t know the origins of that song.

A student spoke up. “Um, that’s not what it always said.”

“Well, what did it used to say?”

Another student. “It used to be a, ah, a racial slur.”

There’s a longer moment of silence during which I feel very Black.

“Well, it’s a good thing they changed it to tiger then, isn’t it?”


Certainly not the most racially awkward moment I’ve ever had at Rose, but it was a vaguely amusing one nonetheless.