We are all capable of spotting someone else’s intolerance, but we’re not all that quick to spot our own. It’s particularly hard to stop ourselves from being intolerant towards someone who we perceive to be intolerant towards ourselves. However, we are not five year olds and the -“ but (s)/he started it” excuse isn’t going to cut it. Even in the face of intolerance, as hard as it may be, it’s probably best not to answer with intolerance. I’ve had to learn that the hard way (See my blog post titled “Tolerance Limits”).
Being hotheaded, self-righteous, stubborn and opinionated I have a tendency to accept almost every invitation to engage in a fight comprised solely of intolerance. I need to learn to choose my battles a bit more wisely and utilize my character traits for good, not evil. Like a five year old, I use the- “but (s)/he started it” excuse…and it’s simply not good enough. Even though I may not have been the one to start it, I chose to participate in it and that is just as bad.
If some kind of intolerant bigot (for the purpose of this example lets make them Australian) tells an immigrant to row their boat back to where they came from, can the immigrant accuse the bigot of having ancestors that were convicts or perpetrators of genocide? While it’s tempting (oh so tempting), it’s probably not correct and in the long run will create more problems that what it will solve. Intolerance needs to be dealt with in the right way, not the easy way. It’s like fighting racism with reverse racism, or sexism with reverse sexism…racism is racism and sexism is sexism. Irrespective of who the perpetrator and victim are, and whether or not their roles get reversed, it’s still intolerant and wrong.
When my husband was asked if he had any jihadi friends he didn’t lose it. When he was told that terrorists are Muslims that kill people just moments after, he still managed to keep his cool (For further details, refer to my blog post titled “Do you have any Jihadi friends?”). He didn’t rip apart his interlocutor with similar intolerant comments (like I probably would have) because he didn’t feel the need to stoop down to such a primitive level. If we defend ourselves in the same manner that we are being attacked, how are we any better than our attacker? If we know better, we need to act better.
If we want to dismantle intolerance and reinforce acceptance, it’s necessary for us to adhere to our own expectations. The right way to dismantle intolerance is through education, positive reinforcement and love. Fighting fire with fire in this sense will only reinforce intolerance further rather than dismantle it. As hard as it may be, when faced with some sort of bigotry, maybe we need to follow the advice that adults give five-year olds- if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
” An eye for an eye will leave the world blind.”- Gandhi
Although I am new to the blogging world and am completely incompetent at using technology (I only recently learned how to make hyperlinks), I believe that my message of peace and tolerance needs to be heard. To learn a little bit more about my background please read my post titled “A little bit about myself…”. To learn more about why I started this blog, please read my post titled “Introduction…”.