WHAT DOES CIVILITY MEAN TO YOU?
Long-and-short, civility can mean different things, although many of us do land on certain ideas. On that note, before we dig deeper into exploring the meaning of civility, let's define some key terms.
If you search for “civility“ on Google, as shown above, you’ll find a brief, concise definition that reads, “formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech” or “polite remarks used in formal conversation.” While it’s sometimes defined as simply being polite, the term means so much more. It comes from the Latin root civilis, meaning “befitting a citizen.” It’s a term that’s a comfort to some and repressive to others. And while, yes, it can refer to politeness, it’s expands into an array of varying contexts.
What do various experts say about the concept of civility?
Bybee provides a simple yet comprehensive overview of civility here. Do you resonate with his interpretation? What changes would you make to his definition? Let’s shift to another example definition, which offers a different, more inherently skeptical perspective. Which quote aligns more closely with your experience?
Let’s take a moment to reflect on the above quote. Dr. Itagaki acknowledges some of the complexities related to civility, specifically within the context of polarization and our current political climate. At what point do the principles of civility no longer apply? What perceptions of civility do you hold?