James Eldridge Cassidy

The Power of Respect is Free

photo of James Eldridge Cassidy
in his grocery story Hope Arkansas

 

new music from The Neighborhood’s 2015 Song of the Year Recipient
J.P. Kallio with All Said and done

 

I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me…
All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.
– Jackie Robinson

In every culture there is a line of respect, that dare not be crossed. In most cases, it is not written, rarely stated, simply taken for granted that regardless of our differences there is still respect of man. A reverence of one another, as an extension of oneself. Not on a spiritual level, or false idol worship, but a level of respectability, that we are all in this world together.Rather we are rich or poor, black or white, christian or muslim that indeed, we are our brothers keeper.

As human beings, we are full of uncontrolled emotions. We may laugh one minute, then without notice, breakdown and cry. We allow rage to overcome us, to blow an everyday situation, way out of proportion. We may covet our best friend’s rise in stature and fame, although we truly want to be happy for their success. Yet when these feelings pass, we dismiss the occurrence as simply awakening on the wrong side of the bed. But what if we sought to understand our emotions. rather than suffocating them in a time-controlled box. What if we stood back, after an out-of-nowhere emotional explosion, and required answers from ourself, as to what turns us from civil, peaceful people… into ticking time bombs.

The Power of Respect is Free
written & edited by Kendall F. Person

 

In the early 1920’s, the deep south in the United States was not just a racially segregated place, but fostered a bewildering belief system, that a man or woman could be judged simply by the color of their skin. Black Americans’ pursuit of higher learning was limited and inferior, and yet still ridiculed as being uneducated and foolish. Subject of medicinal experiments, without their consent or knowledge, and unwelcomed in the sanctity of most white  churches, yet decry, that black Americans were heathens. But the systematic discrimination was not the catalyst that would lead to the Civil Rights Movement, inequality was simply everyday life,  and while the cause would become known as a fight for freedom, in actuality, what lit the fuse was being unable and unwilling to further withstand the crippling humiliation of being disrespected as a human being.

Some changes in behavior take generations to unlearn. Many structural inequities require acts of government legislation to overturn. While most of our formal history lessons revolve around wars, turmoil and hardships, not everyone living in  the deep south had to wait for laws to pass to conform or understand – all men deserve to be treated like men.

Eldridge and Edith Cassidy owned a small store in Hope, Arkansas, a small town steeped in bigotry, blacks and whites living on opposite sides of the tracks.  And while most white-owned businesses would not even conduct a money-changing transaction with their fellow black citizen, The Cassidy’s sold goods and gave credit to citizens of all races, respecting them as customers and people who were trying to raise and nurture families, just like them. They would, by their actions as much as by their words, and without knowing or intent, pass down a legacy of respect and kindness,  that would one day be felt across the land. When The Cassidy’s grandson was elected the 42nd President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton would proudly present  his cabinet and inner circle on the White House lawn, a stunning diversity and reflection of a nation’s best and brightest people, never seen in the Executive Chamber before.

We are an ever evolving species. Each decade brings new creations, that alter how we live and how we think. We will continue to face struggles and challenges, they will never go away, and we will continue to have disagreements and differences of opinion, as  individuals,  free will, always holds sway. But if we understand the importance of dealing with our own emotions, we become better equipped to maintain calm, even if we live in the eye of the storm.

Mr. Cassidy’s place in history has been cemented by his lessons of respect and courtesy, but the true symbol of his legacy…. is that the power of respect is free.

– The Neighborhood declares Black History Month: American History
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15 comments on “The Power of Respect is Free

  1. Wow, thank you for the Wild Bill Clinton story and the Jackie Robinson saying! M. L. King in the Birmingham letter, mentions never having your women addressed with the title Mrs., in a long list. The story of Ben Carson mistaken for an operating room nurse is a good one. When Jackie Robinson refused to retaliate when mistreated, he demonstrates superiority- to stste the ironic obvious.

  2. Great post and I love the Jackie Robinson quote. What too many people that look as I do fail to grasp is the advantage of being white in America. As a 57 year-old white man, I pretty much can go anywhere I want without repercussion, but the same is not true for a black man. Even when dressed in his Sunday best, if stopped by a patrolman, the thoughts that go through his head are different than mine. The Black man must think he needs to move very deliberately or this may be the last thing he does on earth. Treating others like you want to be treated is what we our taught in many religious texts, yet we need to each better understand what it means for some to be treated with suspicion, intolerance, and disrespect based on the color of their skin or religion they practice.

    • The poor and homeless of every race are being ruled despotically because of the disappearance of the Bill of Rights. This began in a new way after Boston, when we decided that there was no Fourth Amendment (privacy) because we are so scarred of terrorism. Blacks are more exposed to this new thing because of the ancient inequality, being more exposed to both crime and law enforcement. Go to U-tube and watch the Eaton county, Michigan police shoot dead a 17 year old at a traffic stop, or watch them shoot many homeless people for being too mad or deaf to drop a knife.

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