So recently I was chatting with a coworker who gave me a lot to ponder. I involves (as you might guess from my title) tolerance vs. respect. His point was that he dislikes the term tolerance. He said, “Anyone can tolerate another person for a short while in a social setting, being tolerant of someone is as good as lying to them. Instead of tolerating a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, etc., you should respect them. Respect their differences even if you may not agree with them.”
In this day and age where it seems that the “US vs THEM” message is stuffed down our throats by our politicians, religious institutions, and media, respect is a rare thing. There are a lot of groups that I don’t like or agree with, but I respect the right of most of them to exist (I draw the line at racists, hate groups, and those who want to hurt others). Just because you’re different than me or have different beliefs doesn’t mean we can’t sit down and have an intelligent and thoughtful conversation.
I will not tolerate you, I’ll respect you and I hope that you can do the same.