Jun 1, 2014

Tolerating people who are intolerant

Billy the liquor store guy and I have a pleasant chat about various things. And I say, Ann Arbor's a lovely place, I love the youth vibe coupled with the brick buildings. And he says well, you know, it's not all as rosy as it seems. People from [can't remember what region he was talking about, whether it was the outskirts or the US or all over the world] come here and they bring with them "bad things, like gays, hash - y'know the hash bash..."

Something in me twitches a little. Putting a group of people who have certain attraction inclinations into the same category as drugs and calling it a "bad thing" "other people" "brought in" is reason enough for a bit of a twitch. I don't like talking about my views on homosexuality because it's far more nuanced than anyone has the patience for (including myself), but I feel that love is love all the same, and that acceptance of people is paramount, of who they are, regardless of what they do and whether you agree with it or not.

And so I encounter a person who is intolerant towards a group of other people, and that goes against my values. And then I wonder how I should respond internally - how I should feel towards him for his intolerance. And I realise, if I feel even a small degree of antagonism towards him as a person, if I do not accept and love him despite his views too, I would be equally intolerant. If I stand by accepting everyone, that includes people who don't accept. Tolerance is all-encompassing; it doesn't exclude people who are intolerant.

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