Today, we are all under a relentless and unwavering attack by society as it tries to force feed us tolerance of just about everything. Tolerance, as viewed by society, is the pinnacle of cultural progress in our modern world. To see this, simply turn on MTV and watch shows like “The Real World.” The show is filled with drama, fighting and back-stabbing as people from many different backgrounds and sexual orientations all try to ‘tolerate’ each other. Society tries to tell us that, just like on “The Real World,” tolerance of each other is the best way for us to get along and progress as a society.
This is where society is dead wrong. Tolerance never got anybody anywhere. It is basically a sugar-coated way of saying “I’m right, but I don’t have the guts to prove you wrong.” Moreover, it is an admission of a lack of faith in yourself, as you tell yourself that there is a chance that you are wrong. If you are certain that you possess the truth, then you actually owe it to others to show them so. You have an ethical obligation to do everything reasonably possible to ensure that the truth becomes known to all.
If society wants true progress, or “change,” then what it should really be preaching is INtolerance.Not intolerance in the sense that you disrespect, hate or hurt others, but in the sense that you refuse to settle for anything less than the truth. Intolerance strives for a universal truth agreed upon by both parties; a much more pragmatic situation then just agreeing to disagree. Consider this: if tolerance was the root of Dr. Martin Luther King’s message, then we all would still hold prejudices towards each other, but would be in agreement not to say so to each other’s face. If Nelson Mandela was not intolerant, he would have been fine with the system of governance in which blacks and whites “tolerate” each other but were just kept separated. No, these gentlemen were extremely intolerant of racial injustice. As a result, the problem of racism is not just being painted over, but is being attacked at its roots so that everyone sees THE truth instead of just their own version of the truth.
Here at Marquette, we can emulate the power houses of intolerance that I mentioned above and refuse to tolerate the many injustices that are present in our society. We may not experience the same injustices that our forefathers did, but the Milwaukee community certainly has its share of injustice. For example, there is a division of Planned Parenthood just past Mashuda on Wisconsin Avenue, and we have all witnessed people asking for a bite to eat as we walk to class.
While we cannot all be Dr. Martin Luther Kings or Nelson Mandelas, we can all strive to embody their healthy intolerance. We can open our eyes to what is going on around us and through our democratic system we can refuse to support those who wish to tolerate or even further these injustices. Yes, there is hope for a better future, one which has truly progressed beyond primitive tolerance, but this will only be possible if we start today by living and breathing intolerance for the wrongs of this world.
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