Literally, the word tolerance can be used to mean ’to bear’ which in other words means accepting and appreciating the rich diversity of culture in the world. In simple terms, the word tolerance can be used to mean the ability of an individual to appreciate diversity and allow others to live. I believe being tolerant is when an individual exercises objective and fair attitude towards those whose nationality, religion, practices, opinion, and ethnicity among others are different from theirs. Rapp and Freitag (2015) explain that an individual with a high tolerance quotient has the ability to follow an objective and fair attitude towards those they share different opinions. Therefore, a tolerant individual is one who creates new bonds, discovers common ground, rejects unfair stereotypes, bridges the cultural gap, values differences, and respects and learns from others.
Personally, I believe tolerance is crucial in leading a healthy life. This is because we are living in a world with a mixture of rich cultural blends, which creates diversity in cultures. This diversity creates the needs for the human race to interact with people of different religions, races, nationalities, ethnicities, and culture. We see the concept of diversity through our classmates, schoolmates, friends, and the people surrounding us. The diversity of cultures calls for a need to appreciate and be tolerant with the indifference for effective co-existence.
Majority of countries have policies on diversity and tolerance (Wainryb, 2006). These policies are guidelines against discrimination. For example, a majority of countries have legislation against sex and disability discrimination, provides support services to the needy, and promotes positive attitudes towards minorities. Diversity is not only beneficial in ensuring a fairer environment, but also in promoting a greater range of knowledge and skills. Generally, tolerance promotes a balanced and fairer society where residents behave with respect and dignity and have eliminated the concepts of segregation and isolation.
Political, Moral and Social Tolerance
van Doorn (2012) explains that political tolerance is, “acts in the public sphere, such as giving a speech, demonstrating, distributing leaflets, organizing meetings, and so on” (p3). In simpler term, political tolerance is more to do with the civil liberties that are unpopular or disliked by other individuals. I believe this is the most fundamental form of tolerance as it supports or forms a base for all other tolerances. Nonetheless, in political orientations, political tolerance is not confined to diversity. I believe that political tolerance supports civil rights across political, ethnic, religious, gender, and cultural differences.
In simple terms, moral tolerance issued to means tolerance towards the private sphere. In the present world, some of the private spheres include abortions, homosexuality, pornography, and living in sin. Dowd (2016) explains that moral tolerance is more controversial and more about government and public control rather than individual behavior. Some of the examples of moral tolerance in the contemporary world include the ongoing debates on abortion, gay rights, and euthanasia. To single one out, the aspect of homosexuality for many years have been viewed with absolute intolerance through private and public intolerance. However, the aspect of diversity is increasing its tolerance in many regions particularly in the private aspect. There are continuing debates on homosexuality and some regions have allowed marriage and child adoption among homosexuals.
According to van Doorn (2012), social tolerance is ‘ascriptive characteristics people have at birth or acquire in early socialization such as skin color or language’ (p3). This form of tolerance does not only dispute the characteristics only but also the acts and behavior that is believed to be inappropriate by the people inhabiting these characteristics. For example, in history, Blacks were not allowed to use public transport in the USA until the 1960s. However, social tolerance varies from one region to another as it is subject to political, societal, and social transformations.
Effect of Tolerance
The concept of tolerance is learned in varying ways. For example, a child forms values through the imitation of values of the people they spend most of their time. Another way can explain tolerance is where parents teach their children values or senior managers teach employees. Communication is the key to learning tolerance where individuals talk and respect each other on their values. One thing to understand in the correlation between tolerance and diversity is that tolerance is not toleration of unacceptable behaviors. Nonetheless, it is a way of understanding the worth of others and respecting their belief.
In conclusion, tolerance explores how individuals accept diversity. It can be viewed from different lenses but generally, it means respecting other people’s way of life, their culture, religion, race, and other diversity classifications. Tolerance quotient of an individual is used to measure the level of tolerance that one has. Therefore, tolerance is a way of agreeing to things that one dislikes, disapproves, or disagrees. The theory of diversity is important in learning the psychology of diversity in our day-to-day life.
Dowd, R. A. (2016). Religious diversity and religious tolerance: lessons from Nigeria. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 60(4), 617-644.
Rapp, C., & Freitag, M. (2015). Teaching tolerance? Associational diversity and tolerance formation. Political Studies, 63(5), 1031-1051.
van Doorn, M. (2012). Tolerance. Tolerance. doi: 10.1177/2056846012121Wainryb, C. (2006). Moral development in culture: Diversity, tolerance, and justice. Handbook of moral development, 211-240.
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