Are We Tolerant and Does It Matter?

Tolerance is something that is pretty pertinent to our culture.  Criticisms of our culture in the United States by other nations are that we are not very tolerant people.  If you look around us, we are a culture that is built on judging.  Our television shows, our media, and even personal attacks in politics are all judgmental.  It is something that we have learned to accept and most of the time find permissible.  Are we intolerant people and does it matter?
     The ironic thing is that our culture is made up of many cultures, yet our cultural identity is seen as being judgmental.  Perhaps history plays a role in our judging nature.  However, I believe fear plays the biggest part in our judgment.  Intolerance usually stems from fear or lack of understanding of a particular practice or culture.  Many Americans grow up sheltered to the practices and ways of life of other cultures.  Many are even oblivious to cultures that exist here in the United States.  When this happens, individuals become adults only knowing one way to live.  This is very dangerous because those individuals can be presented with another’s culture’s practices and claim them as “wrong.”  This is how we get our reputation.  We don’t understand another’s practices, therefore we judge their practices for being different than ours. 
     Most of us don’t understand cultural relativism, that different moral beliefs are exist in other societies.  So, when people talk about female genital mutilation, Americans will criticize “those African communities,” because they torture their women.  They do not understand that many African tribes do not see it as “mutilation” but as a ritual and tradition.  And not all Muslims kill in the name of Allah as some conservatives would like to think.  They are just the extremists, the same extremists that exist in every religion.  Many beliefs in Islam are actually very similar to Christianity.  Can we change our reputation of intolerance? Yes, by being open to all cultures and respective of their practices.  Agreement is not a requirement, but understanding and being tolerant are necessary.  There are hopes for the United States and its growing tolerance. Click on the link below to read more.


One thought on “Are We Tolerant and Does It Matter?

  1. While many would agree that tolerance is necessary in an increasingly interdependent world, at what point does tolerance need to stop? At what point must people draw the line on what should be tolerated. Through allowing or disallowing certain beliefs of practices to continue, people are taking a stance on the issue. In the case of female genital mutilation, the reason that so many Americans find it horrendous is because it is physically damaging to the patient; yet it in many ways is no different than circumcision of young boys, which is tolerated. Through our tolerance of the practice, the American stance on circumcision is that it is fine whereas female genital mutilation is not. Do you believe this is hypocritical? What if the females being mutilated are giving their consent on the practice? Does this change it, in which case it would be no different than an ear piercing or tattoo, or do the people mutilating them still have no right?

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