Last week Dr. Laura Schlessinger repeated the “n word” several times on her radio show after a black caller phoned in to complain about her white husband’s friends using the derogatory term in her presence. That was totally inappropriate and unacceptable. Although she apologized the next day, Dr. Laura kept going back to that word as if she enjoyed saying it. It’s an outrage to have a radio personality speak this way. Radio shows and TV networks are constantly fined for “obscene” language or nudity (thank you, Janet Jackson), but I find this incident much more offensive. When you are in public eye, you have a responsibility to behave in a civilized, educated, and mindful way. And as a human being, that sort of language and taunting is unforgivable.
Then we have Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who lost his temper, cursed at a passenger, deployed an evacuation slide, and drove home. The worst part about him is that he received instant celebrity and was condoned by some. I hear he was even offered a reality show! How can we reward someone who is so mindless of others, especially when he is in the customer service industry? Yes, we’ve all dealt with annoying or rude customers, but it’s so much better to just take a deep breath and get through the situation with dignity.
And don’t get me started on Mel Gibson. His outbursts have tanked his career. Perhaps he will be like Alec Baldwin—who once famously left a nasty voicemail for his own daughter—and enjoy a career renaissance after a few years, but it seems unlikely. His nastiness has tarnished his accomplishments.
Apparently none of these people know the three Rs of civility: Respect, Restraint, and Responsibility.
As you know, my mission this year and for the rest of my life (!) is to help bring civility back not only into the workplace but in the world. I am a member of the Civility Counts Project spearheaded by the Association of Image Consultants International and our goal is to promote civility in our community.
That doesn’t mean we expect everyone to curtsy to each other or anything over-the-top like that. It simply means being human, and treating others like you would like to be treated. Remember that old concept? It means not pushing people out of your way, or using foul language, or neglecting to thank someone, or threatening someone because they took the parking spot you wanted. It means being polite, calming down, and showing respect for others.
I challenge each and every one of you to join me on my civility crusade. Life is too short to be nasty!