I may be stupid for touching on this delicate subject, in fact I am pretty sure I am. I feel strongly about today’s topic but I work in a profession that discourages airing personal opinions. More importantly, my position discourages talking specifically about controversial things because there are people waiting to argue or accuse me of having evil or unacceptable intent. It’s just easier to avoid the whole conversation.
Let’s take a look at the many different types of people of our community. There are racial minorities, gays, transgenders, liberals, conservatives, handicapped, drug users, alcoholics, the obese, anorexics, geniuses and mentally ill people. Oh, and everyone else that doesn’t fit into those categories. Let’s get something out of the way right now – I know someone will be offended by the labels I just used because there are more politically correct names for some of them. For example, liberals like to be called Limbaugh-challenged. But who are these people? They are the grocery store clerk you saw last week, the lawyer handling your will, the cop who just drove past you, your teacher, your neighbor and last but not least – you. So how is the world supposed to treat you because you are perceived to be different? I say equally and the key is tolerance.
There is a difference between acceptance and tolerance. In my experience, there are many members of these groups that expect the masses to accept their lifestyle, choices or situation. This is an unrealistic expectation which causes defensiveness and widens the gap between the groups. With tolerance we don’t have to accept the other person – we simply have to let them be who they are. Tolerance is simpler, quicker and a far more realistic expectation.
I am not naive enough to believe we have achieved equality in our society and I (like many of you) am not perfect. But if we are to do something today to further our goal of making the world a better place, we can start by being tolerant of others and focusing our criticisms on more productive things.