Tolerable Intolerance


Tolerable intolerance = a state of being where prejudices are realistically acknowledged and tolerated with considerations to fair treatment. The opposite of denial and pretence and acting under impulses of prejudices.

It’s 10 years since 9/11. I’m not sure how many people this event affected but I guess everyone in this world is affected in one way or the other. I don’t know who started the spitting contest, but some one definitely did. I don’t know if we have ever learnt from this event, I hope so.

During the last American presidential election, I asked, why is it so significant for a “black” person verus a “white” person? Not that I had forgotten the the civil war in america or the emancipation of slaves. Nor would I ever be unaffected by the book that changed my live called “To Kill a Mocking Bird”. If education has provided me anything, it was introducing me to this wonderful book. So I was not naive but perplexed because we have to be ever so careful with Americans on the use of terms. There are racist terms, gender bias terms, there are so many politically incorrect bombshells you can step on in a conversation with them. And the election opened my eyes.

Let’s face it, there will always be biases. (alright, I wonder how many politically incorrect rules I would break in this post.) I’m serious. Some people prefer blue to red, long hair to short hair, tall people to short people, man to woman, woman to man, we all have our biases. That’s what’s beautiful about the world because we are not all the same. If Hitler had his dodders, there would only be blond people with blue eyes left. If genetic engineering advance further, all parents would order the same kind of babies, high IQ, no defect, perfectly proportioned body and limbs for greatest aesthetic outcome. My own politician had widely declared that people with arts and social sciences degree are useless people. Students should learn to be engineer, doctors or lawyers. For practical or non practical reasons, let’s face it, biases exist.

This is not a perfect world and people will have biases and prejudices. Now this is where we wake up and say to ourselves, fine, I have certain biases but will my judgement today affect another person because of these biases? That I think is the key point. If someone is being rejected a job because of the colour of his or her skin or gender without consideration on capabilities, that is a problem. On the other hand, would this person really want to work in a place where there is a majority of a certain type and face potential failure just to prove a point?

My hero Atticus said, we will never know someone until we step into their shoes and walk in it.
I believe we can change the world but just look into your back yard before charging around with hurls of injustice. Have we been fair to people around us? Accepting them for their differences from us, embracing their differences? And I don’t even mean the obvious race, gender issues. I mean, just differences.

Voltaire said, I may never agree with that you said but I will always stand up for your right to say it.

Is that our spirit when it comes to people in general? If so, why do we have to be so politically correct if we truly care for human kind and their well being and accept each other as they are? I thought that was the purpose of human rights, only when you decide to take away someone’s right by force and violance or violate that social contract are you punishable by law?
Maybe I’m generalising or idealising. But I thought 9/11 10 years anniversay is a good time to reflect upon that. How did the spitting contest started and can we learn from history and do no more harm.

On the streets, I’m not unfamiliar with this. I’ve been stopped so many times by people who would tell me I’m not welcomed in their country and I should just get the f**k home. It’s their prejudice and all I can feel is sadness for them. Some of them may be having a bad day, some may have had their jobs taken away to be moved elsewhere. So they took a cheap shot at me. But I was not bodily harmed and I’ll tolerate it. Because, I’ve been fortunate. And I honestly don’t think they feel much better after that anyway. Like a friend said, after all generations of suffering of some people, if they prefer us to us use certain politically correct terms, I’ll do it. But let’s not pay lip service only.

But what is not tolerable is bullying. Physically harming and taking away the rights of some just because they are weaker, smaller, different, not of a certain colour, doesn’t appeal to the bully. And by the way, that happens in our back yard. It starts in school, when someone who didn’t like the way the other person look and decides to bully them. If you’ve been guilty, if you’ve protected your child who has committed such act, you are guilty. And let’s just widen this to the responsibilities of the CEO of a company and further up, the head of the country. And then I implore you to consider, when you point your finger at someone, 4 fingers are pointing back at you.

Let’s really wish for world peace shall we, not just because it’s the most used phrase in beauty pageants and political speeches but seriously, world peace.

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