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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Inspired by a Facebook conversation.

Tolerance vs acceptance, and why the status quo is not good enough in my opinion..

tol·er·ance Noun/ˈtälərəns/ 1. The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with: "religious tolerance". 

ac·cept·ance Noun /akˈseptəns/ 1. the state of being acceptable and accepted

Can you see the difference in these two words? Tolerance has a negative connotation, in that the person being tolerant has the option to decide if your behavior is acceptable or not. With a few exceptions, pedophilia, murder and such, it's not my place to decide if your life/choices is acceptable. It is my place to love what is lovable in you, and accept that your life/choices are different then mine, and that's okay. Assuming that your life/choices are not causing pain or suffering to others, and are not illegal (with some exceptions), I would hope that I would do all I can to accept you as you are. I don't want to just tolerate a person, just because they are different then I am. It seems to be doing them and the world a large disservice for me to assume because I don't agree with their choices that it's okay for me to just tolerate them, they way one tolerates hot weather or avocados.

I know I am not perfect and I am sure that anyone reading this blog can point to instances where I have not only not accepted another's behavior, I have flat out condemned. But I think (racking my brain for examples) all of those times, their behavior was causing pain and/or suffering to another human being or living thing. I do not tolerate causing other pain, and I will in every occasion I can, speak out against it. Even in those instances where the person causing the pain/suffering feels that they were acting justly and with in their rights. But, I would hope, that even if I condemn a specific action or choice, that I would still make an effort to find what is lovable.

As long as we have tolerance as a goal, and not acceptance, then we will always have hate. Because one can tolerate something they hate, when forced to in a school situation or work. The undercurrent will always be negative, because haters know they can fake tolerance. To be truly accepting of someone, it's difficult to hold hate towards them at the same time. It's harder to fake acceptance.


Kylie said...

I truly dislike the word tolerance, we do not use it, because of the reasons you have listed.

Alexander said...

Good point. It deserve a lot of thinking.