Most of us, in the last 24 hours, either have been guilty of showing attitude or have been a victim of rude attitude. For example, it might have been a pedestrian, who in a hurry, shoved you to the side with nothing more than an, "Excuse you?" or maybe even your foul retort. Perhaps you were guilty of getting frustrated with customer support or were the unfortunate victim of a one-sided conversation. Whatever the ill-fated situation may be, one thing is for sure: there is a very apparent rise in rudeness. This steady increase in the rude attitude of many individuals is a product of technology replacing face-to-face communication, a tense political and social atmosphere and an increase of deteriorating family units
In the absence of face-to-face communication, technology has amplified rudeness. For instance, many of us feel entitled to day-to-day technological liberties that prove to make our lives easier. An example of this can be seen in the way many of us text while driving, all the while being heedless to the passengers' lives that are being put on the line. There are also numerous Uber drivers who are treated rudely by passengers. The instant gratification of getting a ride with a simple press of a button can lead to passengers feeling entitled and bossy towards their drivers. As a result, a small mishap in directions or being a few minutes late can significantly lower drivers' ratings. Not to mention, the level of anonymity and security provided to online users also result in many rude interactions like trolling.
According to a study conducted by YouGov, 33 percent of the adults in the experiment have seen negative comments and observed trolling on YouTube videos. In the same survey, 45 percent of adults have witnessed negative comments and arguments on online forum sites like Reddit. This is due to the lack of supervision and consequences reaped from negative online behaviors. We as a society tend to take advantage of the efficiency and ease in which technology not only substitutes direct interactions but also makes our day-to-day lives easier.
The political and social atmosphere empowers people to be rude towards minorities. Some of this empowerment goes back to the media's all too negative portrayal of religious and ethnic minorities.
Post 9/11, the general media's emphasis and on Muslim extremists as well as its interchangeable use of the words Muslim and terrorists planted a seed of resentment in many Americans. As a result, "the number of anti-Muslim hate crime incidents jumped in 2001, from 28 to 481 incidents." In another instance, we can observe the media's negative portrayal of black individuals and its negative repercussions. For example, in July of this year, 18-year-old Nia Wilson, a black teen, who was a victim of an unprovoked brutal attack, had her pictures circling news outlets everywhere. The TV station, KTVU, chose to post a picture of Wilson with a gun in her hand, causing an outburst from viewers over the station's misinterpretation of the event.
In addition, Trump's bold statements about minorities embolden some individuals to become aggressively rude. In his presidential campaign, Trump said, "When Mexico sends its people; they're not sending their best. …They are sending people that have lots of problems…They're bringing drugs. They are bringing crime. They are rapists…". With this attitude, Trump not only negatively emboldened the attitude of many racists but he also set a negative example by saying insensitive things and neither apologizing or becoming bothered by them.
To go even further, during a rally in Michigan, Trump said, in regards to a protester, "Try not to hurt him. If you do, I'll defend you in court, don't worry about it." This statement among many others goes to show how the President of the United States made it look as though it was okay to be aggressive towards a protester being escorted out of the building. This type of provocation empowers those who are looking for an excuse to be violent to demonstrate such behavior.
The fact that there is a high divorce rate and a loss of family focus contributes to learned rude behaviors as well as the absence of acquired manners.
For example, since "about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce," family units have lacked intimacy. This can lead children to adopt negative behaviors. Proof of this can be found in my own personal experience, as a child of two divorced parents. A consequence of the divorce resulted in both the emotional trauma and stress which allowed me to take everything out on people around me by means of bullying. I began to pick on kids and excused myself from the behavior because I thought that it was only fair that others felt my pain.
The fact that families live so far apart accounts for the lack of opportunity to learn proper behavior, which is too often replaced by rude behavior. Sometimes living away from grandparents makes us ignorant of their wisdom and lessons that they have learned from their many years. If our visits are infrequent, we tend to become awkward when interacting with them, further widening the generation gap. Therefore, we cannot differentiate between what behavior seems normal to us but inappropriate to many elders. As a result, we can come off as rude and insensitive.
Because family relationships and units are so central to the way we learn proper behaviors and interactions, as they deteriorate, subsequent attitudes like rudeness take its place.
Rudeness continues to rise as each new generation emerges. This is by virtue of technology, which continues to advance, rapidly replacing necessary human interaction and making it difficult to sustain manners. Furthermore, the more we buy into stereotypes and misunderstandings, the more unaccepting and irritable we become as a society. As family interaction and proximity decrease, we tend to stray away from learning fundamental etiquette and respect.
The first step in working towards a reduction in rudeness is to acknowledge its existence and then working on ourselves. It is important to understand that changing ourselves will inevitably result in changing those around us. It is with that mindset that we can change the harsh reality of "rudeness on the rise" to "rudeness on the decline."