WilliB: A big part of that discontent was economic.But a bigger part was the absolute denial of full membership in society, was disrespect. Disrespect is basically a denial of status in violation of what social norms hold is equitable and just. For primates more than other animals, and especially for we humans because of our deeper dependence on society and language, being "disrespected" is tantamount to aggression, to being forced either to fight or to submit and accept undeserved lower status.As a gay man I experienced being "dis'd" for 3 decades (Supreme Court recognition of my marriage and massive social change helps a lot!!!). Otherwise privileged, disciplined, hardworking, high status me went through endless insults and inequities, including being prevented from working, due to my outraged refusal either to hide my homosexuality or to submit. On two occasions this led to violence. This gave me a taste of non-privileged, "disrespected" reality not readily available to my straight peers, an experience that has shaped my life.I am astounded and awed at the historic moral patience of African Americans throughout our history. As a nation I think we owe as much or more to that non-supine moral patience as to the practical genius of the founders. Now, as I watch the growing "Great Divide", I fear the (admittedly gross) economic perils of economic inequality, but even more the corrosive moral effects of the dismissive ignorant hauteur heard (over clinking crystal and china) at infamous dinners from Davos to Dubai, from Beijing to Boca Raton.david fb
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