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Is Tolerance a Virtue?

Myc
Posts: 2
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3/18/2016 5:37:55 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
Hey all. I'm new to the forums, and so for my first post I decided to ask a question: Is Tolerance a virtue?

Throughout societies, it seems that we tend to almost automatically call matters of sexism, transphobia, homophobia or racism matters of tolerance. We tell people that they should learn to be more tolerant of others, and that we should teach tolerance to people. But tolerance is a value shaped by a particular perspective: "We have different cultures. What can we do? We can only tolerate each other."

Martin Luther King Jr. did not upon any occasion use the word tolerance. I believe he would have found the idea of teaching white people to tolerate black people quite repellant. The civil rights movement did not ask for tolerance, but rather demanded equality. When he marched upon Washington, he did not say, 'Please tolerate us,' he said, 'We're here to cash a cheque.'

Should minority groups, therefore, simply demand equality rather than merely seek tolerance or acceptance?
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,417
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3/19/2016 12:30:16 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 3/18/2016 5:37:55 PM, Myc wrote:
Hey all. I'm new to the forums, and so for my first post I decided to ask a question: Is Tolerance a virtue?

Throughout societies, it seems that we tend to almost automatically call matters of sexism, transphobia, homophobia or racism matters of tolerance. We tell people that they should learn to be more tolerant of others, and that we should teach tolerance to people. But tolerance is a value shaped by a particular perspective: "We have different cultures. What can we do? We can only tolerate each other."

Martin Luther King Jr. did not upon any occasion use the word tolerance. I believe he would have found the idea of teaching white people to tolerate black people quite repellant. The civil rights movement did not ask for tolerance, but rather demanded equality. When he marched upon Washington, he did not say, 'Please tolerate us,' he said, 'We're here to cash a cheque.'

Should minority groups, therefore, simply demand equality rather than merely seek tolerance or acceptance?

I think that King demanded political equality and hoped for acceptance. You can't really 'demand' personal acceptance without being counterproductive, you have to earn it. And tolerance is, basically, someone giving you the chance to earn it. If someone is intolerant of gay people, it's a pretty big non<x>starter. But if they are tolerant, I can usually win most people over to at least some level of acceptance.
"Whatever else is evil, the pride of a good mother in the beauty of her daughter is good. It is one of those adamantine tendernesses which are the touchstones of every age and race. If other things are against it, other things must go down. If landlords and laws and sciences are against it, landlords and laws and sciences must go down. With the red hair of one she-urchin in the gutter I will set fire to all modern civilization."
- G. K. Chesterton -