International Day for Tolerance

November 16 has been set aside by the United Nations as a day to promote tolerance. Their website explains it like this: “On the day of its fiftieth anniversary, 16 November 1995, UNESCO’s Member States adopted a Declaration of Principles on Tolerance. Among other things, the Declaration affirms that tolerance is neither indulgence nor indifference. It is respect and appreciation of the rich variety of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance recognizes the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of others. People are naturally diverse; only tolerance can ensure the survival of mixed communities in every region of the globe.”

In an age that seems to be getting less tolerant all the time, it is important to recognize intolerance and to celebrate diversity. The United Nations suggests five ways to counter intolerance.

  1. Passing laws to enforce human rights, such as punishing hate crimes, and making sure all have equal access to such things as courts and other bodies which help prevent discrimination.
  2. Fighting intolerance though education. Children need to be taught about diversity, and to be open and curious, rather than fearful of those different than themselves. Education best happens in not only school, but also the home and the workplace.
  3. Fighting intolerance requires access to information. By this, they mean a free press, which presents accurate information about different groups of people.
  4. Individual awareness. Pay attention to what goes on around you at work and in other places, particularly involving stereotyping particular groups. People need to monitor their own reactions to jokes and casual remarks to keep intolerance from gaining hold.
  5. Local solutions. Tolerance begins at the local level with getting involved with organizations in the community fighting intolerance.

May we all be more aware of our prejudices and work to remove them!

Quotes about tolerance

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

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

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

The greatest and noblest pleasure which we have in this world is to discover new truths, and the next is to shake off old prejudices.–Frederick II, the Great

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

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

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.–Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.–Dalai Lama

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

Man is always inclined to be intolerant towards the thing, or person, he hasn’t taken the time adequately to understand…–Robert R. Brown

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.-Nelson Mandela

Nothing dies so hard, or rallies so often as intolerance.–Henry Ward Beecher

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

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