BOOK REVIEW – Respect is Only Human – A Response to Disrespect and Implicit Bias

Keywords: implicit bias, unconscious bias, systemic racism, respect is only human, human rights, systemic inequality, social injustice                                       

Shockness, Israelin (2020). Respect is Only Human: A Response to Disrespect and Implicit Bias. Vanquest Publishing.

The book, Respect is Only Human: A Response to Disrespect and Implicit Bias, is a very timely publication. It raises the issue of racism in 21st century, and tells the reader not to be surprised, because racism has been lurking under the surface, masquerading in the form of disrespect. The book starts off with a recognition that disrespect is found in all areas of society, from the home, to boardrooms, corporations and institutions, where some leaders show more compassion for the bottom line than for their employees and those lower down the organization chart.

Disrespect takes the form of poor recognition of individuals’ skills and worth, and even involves verbal and emotional abuse of staff. Disrespect is found in various areas, even in homes between generations. Friends joking with each other use racial and ethnic jokes, and bullying becomes a part of the fare, as friends disrespect friends, forcing them to undergo teasing they would rather not have.  Children and youth suffer emotional and physical pain through bullying and cyberbullying, some to the point of suicide.

            According to Shockness (2020), respect is the answer, and the only rationale for this is that if people respect each other, they would take measures that would maintain their individual human dignity.

            This book examines respect in its many forms, showing that it is respect that is the foundation of society, and foundation of all of our daily lives.  While the book stresses respect for each other, it also stresses respect for important values that maintain human dignity and respect for our environment.

            It examines the many ways in which implicit bias is developed and perpetuated throughout society and how it works.  The book shows the damage that implicit bias can cause, and has caused, and measures that each person can take to put an end to it.  The racism that is built on, and that emanates from implicit bias is exposed, and governments, corporations, institutions, and individuals are all encouraged to uncover and expose implicit bias, replacing it with respect in all its forms.

            This is a quick read and causes one to question as to where one stands, and what things one would change in order to make respect the most important value in interacting with others. It is well worth the read, because of the invaluable lessons learnt.

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