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I always understood the overwhelming importance of respect long before Aretha Franklin sang the song. It was obvious at an early age that respect was a vital component that money could not buy and it was extremely important in the over all development in the making of a positive Black man.

As a youngster I was fortunate to be exposed to the importance and need for respect in my home and church. Self-respect is a priority and then respect for family, friends, and others.

The lack of respect for women that has been exhibited by too many Black men has translated into unstable homes, disrupted children, failing school systems and overall disruption throughout our communities.

This blatant lack of respect is not only demonstrated by uneducated Black men but more tragically by a substantial number of Black educated men, who have achieved certain positions in politics and the corporate community. Those who have this inferiority complex would denigrate other Blacks solely to attempt to elevate themselves in Ol’ Massa’s eyes.

If we as a people are going to position ourselves to being first class citizens and enhance the opportunities to share in the American Dream it will begin to become a reality when we truly incorporate respect in our lives. We must begin to develop a sense of respect for others and ourselves and cease allowing outside interests to being so effective in using our lack of respect for others to keep us so divided.

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