The folllowing is from Dr. Samuel DeWitt Proctor, "The Substance of Things Hoped For: A Memoir of African-American Faith," By Samuel DeWitt Proctor. Valley Forge: Judson Press 1999. 267 pp
One of my white students entered an elevator that I was in already, and I removed my hat.
"Dr. Proctor," she said, "Why . . . did you take your hat off when I got in the elevator? You're living in the Victorian age." She laughed congenially.
"If you'll get off the elevator with me for a moment, I'll tell you." At my stop, we both stepped off.
"I'm not a Victorian," I said, "but somethings stay in place from one generation to another, and certain manners stand for values that I hold dear. I believe that a society that ceases to respect women is on its way out. Women bear and raise our children, they are bound to them in early infancy; they need our support and security through this process. When we forget that, the keystone of family and home is lost. When we neglect and abuse women, the family falls apart and children are less well parented, and they fill up in the jails and are buried in early graves. I believe that respect for women is the linchpin of the family and the society.
"Therefore, when you entered the elevator, I wanted you to have automatic, immediate, unqualified assurance that if the elevator caught fire, I would help you out through the top first. If a strange man boarded and began to slap you around and tear your clothes off, he would have to kill me first. If the elevator broke down and stopped between floors, I would not leave you in there. If you fainted and slumped to the floor, I would stop everything and get you to a hospital.
"Now, it would take a lot of time to say all of that, so when I removed my hat, I meant all of the above."
How many of us fail to show proper respect and manners towards women? This statement by Dr. Proctor is one of excellence in explaining why it's important to show the women in our lives and those that are strangers our utmost respect. Do you men stand when a woman comes into a room? Do you hold out a chair for her? Do you open a door for her? Do you ever think to compliment her when she's dressed in a modest and welcoming way? Do you speak kindly to that woman? If you're answer to any of these is no, then you have room to improve. Let's show our woman with simple gestures of respect that we as men will protect their dignity and virtue at all costs. Let's show through our respectful manners that they mean all and the world to us. They really are more important than we give them credit for in this world. Most importantly, they are Daughters of our loving Heavenly Father. Do you treat them as such? I pray and hope we do!