Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mama On: Behavior

"Behave yourself! Do you want people to think you were raised in a barn?"

Ah, we have again come to one of the basic tenants of Mamaknology -- "Act right." And of course, the addendum is, "Act right in public; you never know who sees you" "

I had the privilege of viewing the AMERICA I AM exhibit, here in Atlanta. Before going further, I have to say that it was an amazing exhibit and totally worth the one-hour (plus) wait in line. Now, knowing that this fascinating event dealt with the contributions, trials, tribulations, and triumphs of African-Americans in this country. I wanted to believe that I was going to celebrate being black in America with people like me. People willing to share and enjoy the best of what we are.

Well, as it turns out, many of the people I was in line with turned into something I hope never to be: rude, ignorant, loud, vulgar, and callous, and they had no problem demonstrating these traits in pairs, trebles, and other multiples. The children with them MUST have learned their manners somewhere else -- thank goodness -- because the ones throwing the tantrums, trying to touch the exhibits, taking pictures, sitting and standing on the exhibits, and stepping on other people were the adults.

Now, what's wrong with us? Why can't we go anywhere and act like it is meant for EVERYONE to enjoy-- not just us. Why do we think that the rules are meant for everyone EXCEPT us? Why do we forget our manners at the door and then have the NERVE to be offended when we're caught doing the wrong thing? And yes, people were in the exhibit trying to handle and take pictures of 500-year old artifacts!

Come on, people! You KNOW your mama raised you better than that. People died for your right to stand where you are, and you're tramping all over their blood, sweat, and tears like it means nothing. Were you raised in barn?

The Mamaknologist take on this is much like the line from John Donne's poem (Meditation XVII). Donne tells us that, "No man is an island, entire to himself...". Briefly, this means that you have no right to behave like a circus act and then take it on the road because you are not the only person in the world. You have no right to abuse the people around you with your bad behaviour. One of our president's was quoted as saying, "the rights of the individual extend only as far as the next individual."

He might not have been a Mamaknologist, but he put the right words in place to make the point.

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