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Lack of tolerance leads to discrimination

August 5, 2012
Joshua Dahle, Marshalltown , Times-Republican

Are tolerance and acceptance the same thing? A recent letter titled "We should be able to express displeasure with homosexuality" (July 25) is grossly misguided. The author seems to think that simply because everyone has been bullied it makes it OK to continue doing so. According to him, the sole crusader against school bullying is the "homosexual agenda." If the homosexual agenda can put an end to school bullying then we should welcome it with open arms. School bullying is a serious threat to children of all walks of life and should not be taken lightly simply because "everyone has been bullied at one time or another."

There should be no reason to express displeasure with homosexuality in the first place. There is a vast difference between tolerance and acceptance. Tolerance allows many opinions and views to coexist in a pluralistic environment and is the gateway to diversity and equality for all. Acceptance means fully supporting and embracing diverse views. To tolerate a view is the bare minimum of civility and means one can live their life normally while people of other views live their lives with equal regards. The bare minimum to be a decent human being is to tolerate. You don't have to accept or embrace (or become) homosexuals, but you shouldn't keep them from living a life of equal rights, protections and love that you experience in yours. When you can't tolerate you become discriminatory.

The author states in his letter that they are "mandating a person cannot discriminate when hiring." If we look at the definition of discriminate we find it to be "a difference in treatment on a basis other than individual merit" (Merriam-Webster). There is no room in the professional world or otherwise for discrimination of any kind. I take pride in the measures to include diversity and protection for everyone in the workplace. It is ignorance like that expressed in the previous letter that keeps our society from progressing to a more educated, accepting, diverse and united country. No one is forcing anyone to accept homosexuality, but as decent people we should at least tolerate other views. If you cannot tolerate another based on race, gender or sexual orientation then you should not be surprised when you are rightly labeled a discriminator.



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