Friday, November 5, 2010

There is a word I could do without

The word is "tolerance."

You may feel that something like "religious tolerance" would be a good thing. My problem is with the root meaning of the word. To tolerate is to "put up with something or somebody unpleasant..." It implies that the thing or person being looked upon with tolerance is somehow wrong and we must deal with it like taxes or the lack of cabs in the rain or bad manners on public transit.

I propose that we teach "acceptance" instead of tolerance. We have to accept the fact that there are jerks out there. We have to accept the fact that there will always be someone who doesn't like you. Because you're too fat or too thin. Too black or too white. Too religious or not religious enough. Or the wrong religion.

We have to accept that people will have differing opinions, customs or beliefs without making a negative judgement about the person or their customs, beliefs or opinions.

So what brought this up? Two things. The previously mentioned problem with Clint McCance and school bullies. Then this post. I think this mom is fabulous. Not everyone agrees. There are over 32,000 comments on this post. Some of them are just ugly. One of them is by a self proclaimed Christian writer (whose grammar and spelling are worse than mine and that's saying a lot) who castigates the mom for making her son a target for pedophiles.

Yeah, I know.

I'm having a bit of trouble with "accepting" her garbage. I resisted the urge to go to her blog and post something equally nasty. I'm not perfect. I have trouble accepting some things.

There are even worse comments.

Luckily the majority of comments praise this mom for her unconditional love and nurturing her son's creativity and individuality.

I went looking for a suitably pithy video about tolerance/acceptance but what I found was quite different. Sometimes you just have to say to hell with tolerance and acceptance.


  1. I completely agree. Years ago when I first started teaching, there was a "tolerance" movement and somehow the argument was something about if we call it acceptance then we're condoning it.

    I thought then, and I still think now, WHO are WE to judge? We're all human. Let's accept that with grace, shall we?

    Stopped by from the SITS CommentHour

  2. Great post. I wrote about tolerance. I didn't realize the actual definition of tolerance when I wrote it. Now I want to delete the word from my post lol.