I recently heard a very intelligent lady say that she hates the word "tolerence".
Tolerance suggests that to be unprejudiced towards something that is different from us, to endure it and allow it to occur without interference despite disliking or disagreeing with it, requires some sort of generosity on our part. When, really, unless something is harmful to us, there is no need to tolerate anything.* Accept, yes. Embrace, yes. But tolerate?
I had never thought of it that way before. But I think she's right.
The concept of tolerance is an evasion. It legitimises people's prejudices, while praising them for refraining from acting upon those prejudices - which shouldn't exist in the first place.
Maybe we should quit focusing on trying to be tolerant and start working on being truly open-minded and empathetic. Or, equally importantly, not caring about things that don't affect our lives, like girls wearing leggings as pants, our taxi driver speaking Arabic and two people who love each other being allowed to get married even though they are both men.
Because, really. If our own lives fulfil and propel us to a point where we feel good about ourselves and secure in who we are, why on earth would we have the desire to limit the rights and freedoms of others?
"Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves."
— Bertrand Russell
*Come to think of it, harmful practices should not be tolerated either. (They should be quashed.) So perhaps tolerance is obsolete altogether.