Assistant Editorial: ADICE: Civility
By Auburn Mann
Civility, as defined by the dictionary, is a behavior marked by courteous and polite social interaction. It is a trait that is so often presented as the standard for this society, yet, true civility is something that probably far less often seen in practice.
Civility is a great idea, but the reality is when we are pressured with adverse situations, there is a temptation to lose this tact and respond back with impulsivity. How many times have you been in situations where you were have earnestly tried to get along with someone who was at blatant odds with everything you did or believed , and then you wanted to desert some of this civil composure and retaliating either physically or verbally? Yet, hopefully, you have found yourself in more cases restraining from this desire. These cases are the sign of civility.
Although, there are many times when people exert false civility, where they appear to be polite and courteous in the face of opposition, however, when out of the public’s sight they plot and express malice intentions to harm and undermine their adversary. This is just as uncivil if not more so than those who are responsible for more obvious attacks.
As they say, “you have learned to get along when you can disagree without being disagreeable.” This exemplifies civility, where you are able to assert your stance without crossing the line into aggression. As in the civil rights demonstrations of the 1950s and 60s, many who believed in equal rights for all citizens, civilly expressed their dissatisfactions with the status quo by way of nonviolent resistance.
Civil disobedience has been an agent of change in other eras, and civilizations throughout history, as well, including the Indian Independence resistance movements against the British during the 1930s and 40s, Henry David Thoreau, writings during the 19th century American slave abolition movement, and even back to the Hellenic philosophic writings of Socrates, claiming that their was a higher law that transcends the laws set by the state and overrule the states authority.
A more recent example of this is the current Occupy Movement that has taken presence over the past several months in major cities all over the country and globe, where highly disgruntled citizens have organized sit-in fashion erecting tents and makeshift communities “occupying” important political and financial districts centers due to the increasing socioeconomic disparity around the world.
Bringing this even closer to home, last month, a group of students here at Bowie State protested what is and has been widely felt around campus as unfair and unaccommodating library hours at Thurgood Marshall Library, with some even being arrested after continued resistance. This touches on another point of civil disobedience, is the willingness not only to peacefully protest certain societal structures, but also being willing to peacefully accept the consequences of the disobedience to the current statutes. This of course occurred after repeated attempts to work within the system to lobby against policy contrary to what is seen as beneficial to the student body.
Through the utilization of civil tactics, regardless of the hardships faced and lack of diplomacy in techniques employed by the opposition, it will ultimately result in a more civil world.