A black belt was once an awesome status. It not only signified a lifetime devoted to hard training and perfection of technique and character, it also carried with it an awesome responsibly.
Students, and the public, emulate black belts. They do not separate the black belt from the person, so, if they see a black belt outside the school, they see the person as a black belt, not as a regular person. Many times, black belts are watched outside the school without being aware they are being watched. This means black belts must exemplify the virtues of their martial art at all times, inside or outside the school. One false move at an unsuspected moment that is witnessed by an emulator may affect the person's entire life negatively.
During his trial in 399 BC for being disrespectful by not keeping his opinions to himself, the Greek philosopher Socrates said he led "an examined life, that everything he said or did was scrutinized because of his position in society. However, Socrates also said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." Being a black belt means you will be living an examined life, but, if you are up to the challenge, it will be worthwhile. If a person is unwilling or unable to perform as a black belt or to accept and uphold the awesome responsibilities of a black belt, then the person should neither be awarded a black belt, accept the black belt, or be allowed to keep the black belt.