Book Review – Respect is Only Human: A Response to Disrespect and Implicit Bias

This book focuses on the concept of respect in various areas of life.  It also highlights how much the concept of respect has been devalued over the past few decades. Whereas, at one time, respect as civility took centre stage, today, respect is often set aside as something too restrictive and old-fashioned. 

Gross Disrespect Abounds

In its place, gross disrespect abounds on all levels: in the intimacy of the home environment, in workplaces and other public spaces, within families, between employers and employees, among friends, and in organizations and institutions. In place of respect, disrespect looms large as it takes on a life of its own. Many of us no longer see the importance of being courteous and of considering the feelings of others.  We have, for the most part, morphed into a society where the more disrespectful and discourteous we can be, the more attention we receive, and the more popular we become.

                                 What Distinguishes Us from Beasts?

            But are we moving forward or moving back? It was Confucius who pointed out that when we do not have and show feelings of respect, we are not different from beasts.  In other words, it is our embracing of respect that distinguishes us from animals.

                                    Important to Claim Our Humanity

            This book therefore illustrates the many ways in which respect has been coopted, and where disrespect now reigns supreme.  The function of this illustration is to remind us of what we may have forgotten, that it is important to claim our humanity by showing human feelings and kindness to others.  But this book also points out that as humans we have other things to be respectful to, for example, our environment, other people with different ideas, and other beliefs.

                                                Disrespect and Implicit Bias

            Having outlined the ways in which disrespect is so easily manifested, this author points to the many ways in which disrespect may be disguised from some who may be unaware of this.  Disrespect, expressed in implicit race bias, implicit sex bias, implicit gender bias, implicit disability bias, implicit religious bias, and intolerance to any type of difference, is exposed, in some of its hidden manifestations.

                                                Author’s Goals

            The author’s goal in the book, Respect is Only Human: A Response to Disrespect and Implicit Bias, is to make people more aware of some of the bias they take for granted. It is also the author’s goal to show how implicit bias could be identified and changed. Being unaware of the consequences of implicit bias, many people engage in activities that promote racism, sexism, and other intolerance.  

                                    Strategies for Ending Implicit Bias

This book also provides many strategies that individuals as well as organizations and institutions can take to spell the death knell for implicit bias in its many manifestations.  While some of these strategies involve simply changing the way we engage with others, other strategies are more complicated and involve managers and employers being intentional about making changes to eradicate implicit bias.

Keywords: Respect, Humanity, Disrespect, Implicit Bias, Strategies to end Implicit Bias

By Israelin Shockness at and at

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