- A disposition to allow freedom of choice and behaviour
- The act of tolerating something
- Willingness to recognize and respect the beliefs or practices of others
I have never liked the word tolerance. It always implies that somehow we disapprove of somebody’s ethnic background or religion, but we put up with it, usually under duress. It is almost like saying, “I hate what you believe in, but I have to put up with it, the government told me to,” when really you would like nothing more than to see the back of them.
Bloody immigrants, get rid of the lot of them
You hear it down the pub, at work, round at friends houses, all over the western world at least. Sometimes people’s views are more extreme, as has happened in britain, where political parties have been set up, whose manifestos are to get anyone who isn’t white, repatriated to their “home” country, even if they were born in the uk.
Some people hate that there are people walking round with different coloured skin or different clothing, and especially if they believe in a different religion to us. There are always news items where someone has been murdered because of their skin colour, but fortunately, it does not happen too often.
We, the expansionist western countries, like the uk, france, and spain, travelled the world, violently colonising countries in africa, the caribbean, south america, and asia, amongst many others, including ireland.
After the second world war, britain needed cheap labour to help rebuild the country and the economy. They didn’t want the immigrants mixing too much so they set up “areas” for them to live.
They were disliked by those in power, but “tolerated,” because they worked long and hard for very little money. These immigrants suffered taunts and violence at the hands of unintelligent “locals” whose only skill was being white and british. The irish, who were under the control of england for several hundred years were often abused, and suffered violence at the hands of the british yobs when they were only there to earn some money to send home – and were welcomed by the british government, I might add ”
The powerful will always tolerate people, but only for as long as it benefits them
So in came the immigrants with their strange languages, strange food, and strange customs from india, pakistan, and jamaica, amongst other countries, expecting to be welcomed by the british, but they were just tolerated. The people in power didn’t like having the immigrants running around out of their control, which didn’t happen in the old days, in the colonies. They were here, working and living as free men and women, and it wasn’t long before they started having children, who became british citizens.
The racists in charge of britain must have been seething that these people were free british subjects to be afforded the protection of her majesty. Indians, pakistanis, west Indians. What was going to happen to our culture?
The west indians are often blamed for bringing in drugs and starting street crime in britain but what was happening to their culture, and more rightly, their self-esteem by moving here? Tolerated by the government, only because they provided cheap labour, and despised by the people for their black skin. What must that do to a person – a human being? It is no wonder we have trouble with “ethnic minorities” in countries.
Who dares judge a man for the colour of his skin? We all came from africa (according to the scientists), and what colour do you think our skin was there? White? Skin colour is just a biological adaptation to the environment, nothing more. We must all remember that when we are being “tolerant.”
Tolerance has nothing to do with compassion. Tolerance places you above the person you are being tolerant to, do you understand? It places you as a powerful superior, and it is only by your good grace you allow them to exist at all!
In my mind, we have to take this word out of the dictionary if we are to progress as a species. We must accept all who we meet as brothers, for they are. We are forged from the same steel. We are one with them, what does it matter if they speak a different language, believe in different gods, eat different foods, and have different skin colours? We are all part of the whole, the indivisible. There is nothing else. You will see this when you gain more insight.
So instead of “tolerating” people, we must embrace them (not physically, although you can if you like!).
We must accept them as homo sapiens, members of our own species, and give up the insularity of nations. Nations are just political borders created by powerful men with weapons at their disposal. They mean nothing. An immigrant is not an immigrant, he or she is just another human being, just like you and me.
Admittedly, some immigrants are just after a quick buck, and do nothing to contribute to the community, but merely take, but they are giving their labour and that is all that is asked of them. Some immigrants bring crime and violence with them, but how can we expect anything else from humans? They bring themselves, and if they are violent, they will bring violence, do you see? If they are compassionate and loving, they will bring that.
Unfortunately, we cannot always see deeply into a man’s mind, and I agree that there is no point in allowing people to immigrate if they are intent on causing misery to the people who have given them at home, that is clear. They can carry on doing that in their own country, but we must not expect people to conform to our way of life. We have to understand that to them, our culture is alien.
I found this out myself when I emigrated to australia to live with my australian wife. I just couldn’t understand why people drove so slowly, and why they didn’t let you out at junctions. I couldn’t understand why they were so loud, or so obsessed with sport. I came from a country which had sent the ancestors of some australians to colonise the country, so you would have thought that it would be easy for me, but it wasn’t. They weren’t tolerant at all, they expected me to conform, or “bugger off back to england,” which is ultimately what I did.
So imagine coming from a culture with a different language, followed by the fact that people are looking at you because of the way you dress, not to mention your skin colour, and you can see why people who emigrate to find a better life, (which is what our ancestors did when they left africa) are frightened when the country of their dreams turns out to be not so rosy. When the people shout hurtful names at them in the street, and their children are bullied at school, or beaten up just because they come from another part of the earth.
We are all immigrants.
So remember, next time you think of being tolerant towards someone, don’t bother, offer the silent hand of compassion. There is nothing to be tolerant of. Maybe if you get to know someone “different” from yourself, you will start to see the similarities.
by alan macmillan orr
“The natural mind – waking up”