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Un-Teaching Tolerance

LongIsland.com

Why do we teach "tolerance?" Tolerance is something you have for a pimple showing up on your face the night before a big date. Tolerance is something you show when you lack the ...

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Why do we teach "tolerance?"

Tolerance is something you have for a pimple showing up on your face the night before a big date. Tolerance is something you show when you lack the assertiveness or energy to just tell someone to bug off.


Following are just a few reasons why tolerance, is

not

the answer!



Everyday we get exactly what we ask for



The state of race and cross-cultural relations, the persistence of age-old challenges, anxiety, misunderstanding and conflict, all tell us that the understanding we seek, is nowhere to be found in the "tolerance" we teach.



Tolerance does not encourage us to understand one another




Tolerance does not encourage us to be curious about one another




Tolerance does not encourage us to appreciate one another's differences

Dictionary.com has one definition of tolerance as follows: The endurance of the presence or actions of objectionable persons, or of the expression of offensive opinions. In addition, most definitions alluding to medical contexts for the word refer to a foreign agent introduced or imposed on the body and focus on its resistance and ability to function despite it. These definitions speak for themselves.



In no other context, is tolerance a good thing!

Nowhere else is this term a positive thing. Imagine telling your mother in-law you are "tolerating" her--what do you think the result would be?





So what

should

we attempt to do then?

Forget tolerance. Let's commit to learning the skills that can enable us to truly communicate with one another even when we agree to disagree, to engage in authentic dialogue, to manage conflict so that both parties come out better than before, to disassemble the stereotypes on which we've relied for way too long, and to take ownership of our role in perpetuating the misunderstanding and conflict. Let's commit then, to understanding and appreciating cultural diversity. The harmony of our planet, our work environments, our neighborhoods, our collective future depends on it!