Yes it is. For me respect means a lot than etiquette. Without respect, etiquette cannot exist. This ‘Etiquette thing’ is a wonderful example of how we have misapplied or purposefully misapplied what it actually means. According to Dictionary, it means:
“conventional requirements as to social behavior”
“proprieties of conduct as established in any class or community or for any occasion”
“a prescribed or accepted code of usage in matters of ceremony, as at a court or in official or other formal observances”As the dictionary meaning says, we all have to maintain some respect, have some manners while living in a society and maintain a standard of living. It just means, you have to behave in a certain manner so that you don’t cause harm or embarrassment to others. We can’t behave outside in the public the way we behave in our respective houses, that’s where Etiquette comes into picture.
But here lies the problem. We have designed or arrived at some conventions based on our thinking that, this is good, this is ok or acceptable and this is bad. But tell me one thing, this is has been arrived at by ourselves and not bestowed upon us by nature, right.
The basis of the human existence is to respect one and all. In that thinking, tell me how and where does etiquette fit it…?? We have so horribly misunderstood or may be purposefully misunderstood it, that following etiquette has becomes a kind of discrimination. You might have seen at hotels or restaurants where a person opening the door for you at the entrance, saluting you, saying namaste and all. But have you observed how some visitors behave with them. It’s pathetic. They don’t even give respect to them. What happened to their etiquette now…?? We associate etiquette with what type of car a person drives, how big is his/her home, how amazingly a person dresses, how much money a person has and many more things like these. I can tell you, the person standing at the door will be very well dressed than the visitors entering the hotel. So if we go by that logic then the person dressed well should deserve more respect than the visitor, right…?? Etiquette doesn’t depend upon how rich you are or how powerful you are.
The maids, security guards, drivers, servants, cleaners…..all these people deserve some respect. Imagine a day or two without these people, head starts spinning and life might come to a halt for some. If we can’t even respect these people for what they are and what they do, then how the hell can we claim that we follow Etiquette. This is what Encyclopedia says about Etiquette:
“Regardless of its level of material culture, any highly stratified society will possess an etiquette in which every person knows the behaviour expected from him toward others and from others toward himself.”
So we all have to ensure that we follow Etiquette in its true sense. If followed correctly, it can bridge the gaps otherwise it will lead to gross discrimination among ourselves.