Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tolerance vs. Comfort Levels

By M. J. Joachim

Tolerance is often a nice way of saying, “I’ll put up with you, even though I don’t like the inconvenience it causes me.” However, tolerance often has little to do with it, while compassion becomes completely disregarded. People unwilling to “put up with” the marginalized members of our society are not tolerant. They are tyrants, seeking to have their own way, and be comfortable without regard to fellow human beings.

We hear about it all the time. Russia is “being tolerant” of gays during the Olympics. Two Malaysian citizens filed a case against a school for special needs children in their vicinity, because they are tired of being tolerant of the noise from its students. Children die from abuse, because people give parents the benefit of the doubt, and are tolerant of their rights to be parents.

It’s really about comfort levels, and the willingness to speak up for what is right concerning those in harms way. As much as anyone disapproves of the lifestyle of gay people, it does not give them the right to be intolerant of how they choose to live their lives. Nor does being tolerant give gay people the right to impose their views on those who disagree with them.

Children with special needs have just as much right to live, grow and get an education as the rest of us. Tolerance demands we let them live, without sending them off to some secluded island, where they can’t impose their disabilities on the rest of us.

Abusing children is an outrage, a HUGE BLACK EYE in our society. It is not and never should be tolerated, regardless of the rights of parents, and the unwillingness of those who rightfully should speak out against it, especially when they know what’s going on. As much as it offends one’s comfort levels to say something, it’s absolutely wrong to turn a blind eye to such an atrocity.

We’re talking about real human beings here, people just like us, who are born with the same human rights and freedoms as anyone else on the planet. No two people are exactly alike, which means tolerance is required, despite the imposition on comfort levels of those who feel they have the right to be intolerant.

Tolerance is extremely important in our society. We should be tolerant of those suffering from the effects of being abused, and trying to overcome them. It is a lifetime process for many, something they struggle with everyday. To cast them out, because we’re not comfortable with what they’ve gone through is cold, heartless and inexcusable.

Stories abound about how people with disabilities make huge contributions to society. It’s not about their physical status, but rather their determination, strength and unbiased love for other human beings. These people touch our hearts with their stories, reminding us what it feels like to be human.

Time and time again, history has revealed the devastating effects of being intolerant of those who are different – entire groups of people being chastised, admonished and even killed for being different. Prejudice in the name of comfort levels, intolerance at its best. The only lesson we take away from this, is that the people still matter, regardless of age, race, creed or sexual orientation. If we are tolerant of discriminating against one or killing any such group, we are tolerant of being against and killing them all.

Thank you for visiting Effectively Human today. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post today. Please share you insights, stories and beliefs in the comments.

M. J.

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Photo credit: Wikifrits, Hilversum Kunstwerk Tolerance, Public Domain