By Estelle Nora Harwit Amrani
September 9, 2006

I don't think it's news to anyone that young people have become progressively more rude. I've written about it before. But what has not progressed is countering it: refusing to accept it, confronting it, demanding change.

I went to fill up my car after 10pm in a residential area. The gas station has two apartment buildings next to it, and houses and buildings line the streets. At the station were a few patrons, and myself, when up drives a man in his 20s. This African-American man parked his SUV with open windows next to my car - we shared the same pump, on opposite sides. He kept his radio full blast with Ghetto rap music pounding away. It didn't dawn on him to lower the volume or turn off the radio. He didn't care about the people at the station, nor the people living near the station who might be asleep or just enjoy the quiet until he drove up. The only one that mattered to him was himself. The other patrons walked by rolling their eyes but saying nothing. They felt intimidated. I covered my ears as a hint, and that had no effect upon him. As I finished pumping gas I looked at him and said, "So rude." Then I got in my car and drove off, with swearing and calling me all kinds of names. I thought his mother sure didn't do a good job of raising him, and I was pissed off.

What makes anyone think they have the right to inflict their dysfunction upon us? No one says they can't listen to the music of their choice at home or anywhere, as long as it's not exceeding legal and healthy decibal levels, and certainly is appropriate in place and time. Just because they like it, doesn't mean they have to force it on everybody else, and we have to accept it, and accept it for fear of being attacked or murdered over it. You know what that is? That's a form of terrorism, folks. Why do we allow it?

It's the same as speaking loudly on your cell phone so that everybody hears your business. And when someone asks you to tone it down because they can't talk to anybody else with your voice looming in the background, you tell them to mind their own business! Absurd. We would mind our own business if you didn't keep shoving it in our faces. I certainly don't care about your private life - why do you think I want to hear all about it at a restaurant, or in a store, or even walking on the street? It's personal and private business.

What is it that makes these people think they're the only people on this planet? That they have special rights to do whatever they want to and we have to take it? I have to say it must be the parents who are allowing their kids to behave this way, and who might be doing the same thing their kids are. No manners, no sympathy, no compassion, no respect. Therefore, why should anyone respect them, seeing the way they behave? Even speaking to them politely to be considerate of those around them gets them angry and they spit out vulgarities showing they live in a gutter. Their music choices express the same sentiments; calling women bitches and whores, violence is the only answer. I say, NO.

The only solution is to stand up to it every time you encounter it, and hopefully with other people who are fed up as you are about it. People have to teach their kids to respect others, to be polite, to have self-esteem. You can't preach about peace and equality if you go around beating up people with your crap. You can't succeed in the world with that attitude, either. The entire world is not a battle zone, and no one has the right to make it one for their selfishness.

How would you like to be treated? What kind of a world do you want this to be? Wild animal kingdom, or heaven on earth? Rudeness will beget rudeness and violence. Kindness and respect are much better choices.