Intolerance For Tolerance

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I keep seeing this word tolerance pop up when I am looking at instances of racism. I have even found a website called Tolerance.org whose sole purpose is to fight hate by promoting tolerance. WTF is up with this whole tolerance thing, I understand that we would like to rid this country of racism, but is tolerance the only option. Tolerance is a term being used in a social and cultural context within America or white America’s dealing with the black community. The term tolerance is widely viewed as some sort of anti-discrimination doctrine that is often touted by those in power. But, we can look at it from another angle. To me the word tolerance implies that something is wrong with blacks and therefore whites will just have to tolerate it. When in actuality I believe that it is the blacks who have had to do all the tolerating and I don’t understand why we continue to tolerate such abhorrent behaviors from America as a whole.

Bernard Lewis shows the definition of tolerance as “I am in charge. I will allow you some though not all of the rights and privileges that I enjoy, provided that you behave yourself according to rules that I will lay down and enforce.” This is a pertinent statement as it exactly represents how blacks in America are being held down by the white ruling class. I know that people want to jump immediately to the statement I just made and call it a defeatist or victim attitude, but if you look at the disparity in the life experience that we vs. whites have in this country; there is a phenomenal gap. Therefore I call my view one of honest realism. Look at our lives you see that we have a higher instance of shoddy healthcare, justice, wages (if we get a job), living standards, wealth building, education, and in purchasing power such as, obtaining credit, homes, cars or goods and services. Those wonderful things that most Caucasians can take for granted.

This last paragraph brings me back to the issue of why we as a black community tolerate this type of habituation, allowing ourselves to settle for this inferior treatment that we so often receive. We have been so conditioned over the years to not only accept this treatment but to expect it and worse yet to dish it out to our own. Criticizing ourselves at every opportunity and for what, to show the ruling class just how assimilated we are; “see boss I’m just like you.” Yet, we will in fact tolerate that crazy behavior and even praise it when it happens. Take your Bill Cosby, Shelby Steele and John McWhorter types, constantly barraging the black community with take responsibility, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and if so and so can do it so can you. These statements are a ridiculous bi-product of people who willingly refuse to look at the big picture. If I have ten kids and I only let a couple into the kitchen, is it then fair to tell the others that they need to take responsibility for the fact that they are so skinny. According to these fellows it is and the kids should be doing more to try and get into the kitchen.

Unfortunately, I believe that you can’t create a system where YOU are subjugating people and enthusiastically denying them equal pieces of the big life pie, then turn around and blame them for the fact that they don’t have a larger piece. All the while rewarding and praising those subjugated fools who decide to help spread the message of confusion, creating a class of people who are full of self hate, doubt and bewilderment. Hard work can only take you so far, then it comes down to whether you fit into white societies definition of an acceptable black, which is one that is a white clone willing to subjugate themselves to white society all neatly packaged in black skin.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Intolerance For Tolerance

  1. Pamela

    Well said! Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Pingback: Tolerance « pam3la

  3. on this web-site you show a poster of two babies touching eachother – one baby is white the other is African-American – how can I buy this poster for my students – I teach 7th grade math
    Thanks,
    Cindy

  4. Cindy the picture was from Getty Photographs. But the last time I was there I did not see it any more. They may still have it but I don’t know if they do posters. I would check with the motivational poster people. I believe they can use that picture to make you a nice poster.

    Thanks

  5. tolerance alone is giving in vain, love is the thing that builds the bridges…. hello from australia, dear friend 🙂

  6. I found your post while looking for an image for my post about the Teaching Tolerance web site. I think my post addresses your concern that “tolerance” means putting up with something undesirable. The true meaning of tolerance is “a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.” That means no judgment, no ranking. I hope you’ll check out my post and let me know what you think.

  7. Wow, Susan. I really admire what you’re trying to do. But I have to say, I’m not any more comfortable with this dictionary definition of tolerance than I was with the definition that Black Sentinel was criticizing.

    I don’t even know what it means to say that we should strive for “fair” and “objective” attitudes towards those who differ from us. How does this mean “no judgment, no ranking”? It sounds like “no judgment, no ranking” except of those we believe we can rationally disapprove of.

    As for “permissive,” how is that any different from what Black Sentinel writes in her original post above, based on Bernard Lewis? If I have a “permissive attitude” towards others, how is that any different from saying, much like Lewis, that I am in charge, and have decided to permit that which is different from myself, at least to the extent that what is different is still acceptable by my standards and that my rules are followed?

  8. Joe

    Yes, yes. but you see most white people don’t have an attitude that we have more power. A lot a lot of white people that I know, in fact most white people that I know, don’t even think like that. We just live our lives, just like you! :). In fact alot of white people are open to black people. I love black people, I dated a few in high school. I didnt see them as the black people I had to tolerate. I only saw the as being sexy girls.LOL. I’d rather be around black people than white people anyday to tell you the truth. Its just, most don’t want to hang with a whitey. LOL i guess I can’t blame them. But most white people certainly dont think that they are in charge of black people, thats silly. Keep in mind we didn’t grow up with that message. althought its not healthy, alot of us walk on egg shells so as not to upset black people. BTW my definition of tolerance is to put up with something whether you agree with it or not, and I believe that the majority of people share this definition.

  9. Joe,

    I agree that this is probably the definition that most people use. And that is the problem. I don’t want anyone “putting up with me.” And as far as white people feeling that they are in charge isn’t exactly where I was going. But, the fact is that you are right white people are living their lives. The problem with this is that white privilege goes along with that life and people don’t bother to change nor challenge the status quo.

    I am saying that as white people the privilege you have in not having to deal with race such as not dealing with it. I don’t have a choice but to deal with it. It isn’t something that I can ignore. You should read white privilege essay by Robert W Jensen. He is a professor who really lays it on the line as what it is and how most people don’t even realize they have it. That is the problem, it is those who don’t have it who realize the ramifications of not having it.

    Thanks.

  10. Joe

    black sentinel, altough alot of white people would love to challenge the status quo, we somtimes truly have to many problems of our own like any other human being. Half of blaack people don’t even have the luxury to stand up to it. I know that you know that just because your white doesn’t mean life is easy. As a kid my parents didn’t have much money so I’m supporting myself in college and paying for an apartement, and I’ve recently had a baby. I’d love to help all people who need it, but, sadley I can’t. I didn’t miss your point im just defending those white people who at heart are compassionate, but are in survival mode. I hope one day it stops untill then, good luck . I will do what I can when I can.

  11. Joe,

    I am totally aware that life isn’t automatically easy because one is white. I don’t mean that white privilege is some sort of red carpet or ticket to easy street that is why I suggested the essay as it explains exactly what I am talking about.

    Also, I think that it is a cop out to say that white people don’t have the luxury to stand up to it. I and other blacks stand up to it with even more to lose or more problems to be gained from it. I don’t understand how standing up is too much of a problem because your white. We all decide to stand up when it affects us personally and that is the problem.

    Thanks for the support and doing what you can that is all that can be asked of anyone.

  12. roaa alghadban

    we are all the same in god eyes we should encourage others … now adays our feelings of pity has increased , our hearts are very hard , it is for this reason that we see everything ans everybody as being offering little with no hope …..

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