I want to talk about tolerance today because lately there seems to be so little of it in the world. There are too many who are eager to set one person against each other because of their nationality, their religion, their race, their gender, their political beliefs, etc. Those who wish to divide us work on our fears, or our ignorance, because one who is afraid is more likely to look to a strong leader, whoever he or she is, to make them safe again. We are fed scary stereotypes that have very little to do with reality. We repeat slogans until we believe they are true. We believe what we read from news sources that confirm our prejudices and dismiss others with a different viewpoint. We see the best or worst in someone because of what group they belong to, rather than who they are as an individual. And with oh so many groups and persons ready to stoke that fear, it becomes very hard to find the truth.

Tolerance takes work. So does the next step, which is respect for others. It’s so much easier to paint all the members of a group with a broad brush than to dig deep and look for the truth. It’s so easy to drop into a “circle the wagons mentality,” than to listen to what others different than ourselves are saying, because we might then have to admit there is truth in their words. But let us be courageous to listen and learn from those who are different than us. Let us educate ourselves, so we can understand others points of view. In the end, understanding and respect are the only things that can save us or give us lasting peace.


Quotes about tolerance

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.–Mohandas Gandhi

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.–Martin Luther King Jr.

Tolerance is the only real test of civilization.–Arthur Helps

I think we have to own the fears that we have of each other, and then, in some practical way, some daily way, figure out how to see people differently than the way we were brought up to.–Alice Walker

Bigotry tries to keep truth safe in its hand; with a grip that kills it.–Rabindranath Tagore

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to root out prejudice:
For you have already given us eyes
With which to see the good in all people
If we would only use them rightly.–Rabbi Jack Riemer

It’s a universal law – intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.–Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The color of the skin makes no difference. What is good and just for one is good and just for the other, and the Great Spirit made all men brothers.–White Shield

When we clearly understand that there is no superior sex or superior race, we will have opened the door of communication and laid the foundation for building winning relationships with all people in this global world of ours.–Zig Ziglar

Greetings, I am pleased to see that we are different. May we together become greater than the sum of both of us.–Vulcan greeting

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
Of people whose skin is a different shade.
You’ve got to be carefully taught.–Oscar Hammerstein II (from South Pacific)

How do we create a harmonious society out of so many kinds of people? The key is tolerance–the one value that is indispensable in creating community.–Barbara Jordan

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