Saturday, May 8, 2010

Tolerance vs. Acceptance

tol·er·ance –noun
1. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.
2. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own.
3. interest in and concern for ideas, opinions, practices, etc., foreign to one's own; a liberal, undogmatic viewpoint.

ac·cep·tance n.
1. The act or process of accepting.
2. The state of being accepted or acceptable.
3. Favorable reception; approval.

If I say that I tolerate something, I feel like I am implying that I do not like the something.  That it has a negative connotation.  That I am permitting it to continue out of the goodness of my heart.  If I wasn't feeling so generous, I would put a stop to it.  But I preach tolerance.  I wish people could just tolerate one another.  Maybe they could just not kill each other.  That would be good.

I never think of tolerance like that, though.  I say that I am extremely tolerant, but perhaps i should say accepting.  Wouldn't it be nice if i had to preach acceptance?  If everyone tolerated each other, then the next step would be to accept one another.

I thought about this because I was thinking about people who are not tolerant of others.  People who can't accept small differences in opinions, such as whether pit bulls are dangerous or whether people who dislike Phish are retarded or not.  Whether using the word retarded is grounds for lynching.  People have such strong opinions that any one who thinks differently is a complete idiot.  I feel like I am very opinionated, passionate, and right.  But even when I know I'm right, I realize that the other person has had different experiences.  They grew up with a different set of values.  Perhaps they hate pit bulls because they have been bitten.  Maybe they love them because they breed them.

It really boggles me why people cannot tolerate each other.  Gay marriage.  Even if you believe that homosexuals are the devil incarnate, why do you care if they are allowed to wed or not?  I suppose people believe that these different people are somehow affecting their lives.  Illegal immigrants are stealing our jobs and selling drugs to our children.  God will send a plague of locusts if we allow homosexuality to continue.

I will teach my son to accept all people no matter how different they are.  Even Republicans.


  1. lmao, even republicans? I'm Canadian so I really have no opinion but that made me laugh...republicans scare me.

  2. I don't like Phish, but I do believe in gay marriage. So.. 1 out of 2? :P


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