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Ja’quaya Salley
Dr. Sabin Duncan
Civility Project
27 October 2014
Chapter 1
Summary:
Chapter one of In Search of Civility was split into four parts. It discusses civility and
incivility as contrasts and gives multiple examples of both. Each of the four parts drive deeper
into what civility is, why it is important, and where it is focused on most.
Civility is defined in the dictionary as “the state of being civilized” or “civil conduct.”
The word civility comes from the Latin word civitas, which means “city.” From this, one can
conclude that civility integrates a notion that includes a personal responsibility to a community.
This is something that P. M. Forni concluded. Forni also concluded that civility is an active
interest in the well-being of communities and the concern for the health of the planet on which
we live. This chapter discusses the many definitions of civility by different individuals. For
example, Forni said that civility is a kind of gracious goodness. Johns Hopkins developed four
principles about civility. These principles are that civility is complex; Civility is good; whatever
civility might be, it has to do with courtesy, politeness, and good manners; and Civility belongs
in the realm of ethics.
This chapter not only discusses what civility is, but it talks about why civility is
important. Civility is important because uncivil conduct is so common in our everyday world.
There are all types of individuals who are uncivil, they are actors, singers, rappers, athletes and
your everyday people. Incivility consists of bad manners and lack of consideration for others. It
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is the act of rudeness and immaturity. A study showed that ninety percent of Americans believe
that incivility can increase the act of violence or lead to violence. The lack of respect and
courtesy is a growing problem in the world. Civility is also important because it can strengthen
communities and bring individuals closer together. It can help form bonds, friendships, and
overall any type of good relationship out there.
This chapter puts a focus on civility and incivility on college campuses. It states that
incivility on college campuses is a crisis and a growing issue. Students become accustom to
impoliteness, rudeness and disrespect. This generation is very self-absorbed and selfish, which
promotes incivility to its fullest extent. Students are rude to staff and faculty members because
they think it is okay. They are also rude to other students because they feel like they do not have
to respect someone their age or close to their age. Chapter one states that this generation of
students on college campuses exhibit signs of having either forgotten how to act civilly or never
learned in the first place.
My view:
I do think that incivility on college campuses is very abundant. I see impoliteness and
rudeness every day. For example, people do not always say “excuse me” or “I am sorry” when
they need to. Some people are not courteous and do not hold doors for others even when they are
right behind them. Some people turn a blind eye to things that they know they should not. Other
individuals even instigate bad situations and do not try to stop them. There are students who do
not know how to communicate with the staff and faculty. They think that it is okay to talk to
them the way that they talk to their friends. There is one big problem that I notice and that is that
people do not say “thank you.” Someone could do something nice for someone else and they do
not say thank you to them. That shows that they are very rude while the other person is being
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very courteous. Civility does need to be a focus on college campuses. It needs to be implemented
just as much as abuse or anything else. Although it is not implemented as much as it should be,
there are some ways that it is constituted on the Hampton campus. An example is the “Hampton
Woman” and the “Hampton Man.” The “Hampton Man” holds doors for females, walks them
back to their dorms, and knows how to talk to them. The “Hampton Woman” knows how to
carry herself in public and is very kind and polite to others around her. Civility is implemented
on Hampton’s campus but it could be pressed even further.
Recommendations:
I would tell others to confront the issue head on. I would tell them that they should talk to
the individual about their feelings, but do it in a civil way. I would also tell them that they should
not react with rudeness because that would just make them as uncivil as the other person. If
confronting the issue does not work, I would advise them to go to a higher authority and see if
they can help with the problem.