Sunday, August 7, 2011

Racial and Religious Tolerance

I don't like that people use the word "tolerance" when saying that one group of people can get along nicely with another group that is different. It's often said in such a way that you would think the first group should receive some kind of award for being "tolerant". You might hear it this way, "Our community has always shown great tolerance for people of other cultures." Really? Tolerant? The very use of this word is extremely arrogant for the first group and should be insulting for the other groups that are "different" or being "tolerated".
The very definition of tolerate should make this a little clearer:
Tolerate 1 : to endure or resist the action of (as a drug or food) without serious side effects or discomfort : exhibit physiological tolerance for 2 a : to allow to be or to be done without prohibition, hindrance, or contradiction b : to put up with; "learn to tolerate one another"
I think it's time we spoke differently about differences. To show tolerance is "to endure", "to allow", or "to put up with". Well thanks alot!
In other words, the above statement really says this, "Our community has always been able to endure other cultures..." or "Our community has always "put up with" other cultures"
"Other" cultures are what make this country great. Maybe it's parsing words, or maybe it's not. I just think that words matter and this particular one as it relates to people of other cultures and religions has always bothered me. However I will remain tolerant of those who use it...

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