Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Tolerance

Theme ~ Good Things: 

For me tolerance is so much more than just a good thing, tolerance is vital to human survival and I believe also to our happiness and our peace. 

A few years ago, I stood outside and watched the sun rise over the eastern mountains and thought of young boy from here in Tehachapi, who would never see another sunrise. He was gay; he had just been found, hanging from a tree, in his garden. He had been bullied at school. He couldn't take it any more. He had no idea that things would get better as he got older. That this was a phase, albeit a terrible one, but things would change. He was very young, he didn't know this, and he didn't have a chance.

I went back in and wrote a blog post about bullying and about this child. I wanted to honor him somehow. It may have been my best post, but I can't find it right now. 

I have stood up for my beliefs, spoken out, risked jobs, been knocked down by a policeman on horseback, and been in danger. I have been told by Americans to go back to where I came from, as I have spoken out against intolerance, primarily racism, during my years in this great country. A country, which would be so much greater if we Americans were more tolerant of our differences. If we appreciated our diversity instead of feared it. And we only have to look around the world to see we are not the only ones who cannot get along. 

All the great religions call for peace. So what is it that prevents us from just letting go of our prejudices and our fears? Where does it come from, this intolerance? Why does it have to be taught from generation to generation? Will this be a permanent human condition?

Rodney King* was not a great American, but he provided us with one of the greatest questions ever as the 1992 Los Angeles riots raged across the city.

So why can't we? All get along.....

*In the early 1990s, Rodney King, a black man, was badly beaten by police in a Los Angeles suburb. Rodney was no saint, but there was no excuse for the horrific beating by police, which was captured on video. People were outraged when the video was released and when the police officers were later acquitted, the city erupted in violence. And this time, the riots extended way beyond the south side of the city, reaching as far as Hollywood to the north. La Brea Avenue, a north/south street was on fire, just a few blocks from our house. One of the two huge destructive events I lived through in Los Angeles; the other, the big earthquake two years later, which also caused a lot of damage to our neighborhood. 


  1. I have chills from this post. I couldn't agree more and my heart aches for that boy and all those like him who are bullied for being different.

    I hope some day things will be different and the world will be peaceful and loving.

  2. A beautiful post, but sad that it had to be written. The story about the gay boy is so heartbreaking.

  3. I agree with you, Inger. the sad thing is intolerance has been in the world since the beginning of time and will continue until the end. i do think we are some better than we were in the past.. but not nearly as good as we should be. children who die my suicide is heart breaking.. and is becoming more common...

  4. A great thought provoking post this morning...
    What a sad situation, this intolerance... I think it's a learned thing. Tolerance and respect goes hand in hand. How so sad for that young boy to die in that way.


  5. Intolerance will always be around, I hate to say it. People will not learn from the lessons that each generation is taught. There has been something from the dawn of time - be it the color of your skin, your politics, what size you are, your genetics, even your handicaps - people love to bully, they learned it as children...

  6. I so agree with you about tolerance, it is one of the most important things we have to learn and it breaks my heart when I hear stories like that of the young boy you shared.
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
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  7. Hi Inger - yes why can't we all get along .. we live side by side, we share so much - yet prejudice often comes from those with less, and those who don't want to understand, or have few feelings, or just simply cannot think ..

    That poor lad - life is just so sad sometimes ...

    Tolerance for some people seems to be a word they haven't heard of, for others .. thankfully many here we have and we listen to our friends ..

    I feel for you - raw memories ... Hilary

  8. Intolerance is much more common than tolerance in the world. It would break your heart to read of John Steinbeck's chapter in TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY on New Orleans in 1960 and the poor black girls screamed at by jeering, foul-mouthed mobs as they walked timidly but bravely to a white school.

    I grieve for that poor boy who saw no hope.

  9. These are serious topics and you phrased it well, Inger. I, too, stood up for intolerance when I lived in the states, and saw what happened to those who didn't 'fall in line'. They couldn't tell me to go home, I was homegrown.

    It was depressing to see a great country treat its people as if they were enemies. By perpetuating the 'enemy within', the fear continues.

  10. Tolerance is vital. And it is a two way street, in all things: race, sexual pref., religions, etc.

    So very sad for the young man.

  11. I've always believed that if you didn't like someone, you just didn't know them well enough. There's no way to combat this war throughout the world, but as mothers, wives, and friends, we have the greatest power to influence the young minds around us. I guess that's one reason why I wanted my children to grow up in an ethnically diverse area, so they wouldn't be intimidated by different cultures, beliefs, or races.

    True Heroes from A to Z

  12. I agree with you! But there has been intolerance since the beginning of time. I don't know that it will ever go away. I have found that I have become more tolerant of some things but less tolerant of others...

  13. Well done Inger. You spoke for me also. I checked your search blog box at the top of the page and found the one I think you are referring to and read it also. Both wonderful posts.
    It is here--

  14. Tolerance is a beautiful word.


  15. Such a good post, Inger. Why, indeed, do humans behave so inhumanely? Thank you for speaking out.

  16. I agree that life would be so much better if people were more tolerant of our differences. It all depends on whether we see differences as good or bad; as learning opportunities or items of hatred, whether scorn or physical violence. I'm not beyond inviting people to think new things, but, in the end, some people are not interested in, or ready to, change. That doesn't make those people any less my friends; it just means we are different. And wouldn't the world be a sad place if we were all the same.

    Blessings and Bear hugs! Best regards to Samson; woofs and licks from the "Superdogs."

  17. Since I left the US I've become much more aware of the different strata of its society. Because well-educated, talented people are in charge of most of US TV, film, big business, government, and education and are the most visible, it's easy to believe everyone's liberal, intelligent, and well-spoken. But the truth is the 80% of the US that aren't so visible are ignorant, stubborn, reactionary, and paranoid. They have the irresponsible 3rd world mentality that anything wrong in their lives is someone else's fault. And they raise their children to be the same way.

  18. Inger, I fell so privileged to know you.
    I firmly believe intolerance is due to a poor education system that doesn't teach us about tolerance and the importance of a good education and building strong healthy minds in the process. If parents had learned this then maybe they wouldn't have passed on intolerance to their children.
    I know 'educated' people can be intolerant too....I would question the quality of their education.

    Difficult topic and not an easy one to solve.....if it ever will be.

  19. Great, thought provoking post, Inger. It is my belief that much intolerance comes from insecurity and lack of knowledge. Tolerance should come from within the home setting. But this will take generation upon generation to occur. One step at a time.

  20. Inger, you did an important post! Very sad and inadmissible, unacceptable, that the intolerance spreads all around the world even in that century...
    I totally agree that life would be much better if people were more tolerant and accept our differences.
    You write so very well, Inger!

  21. Amen, Inger. Amen. The other day someone made a very racist comment to me about Mexicans in Southern California. How offensive, how inaccurate, and how hurtful -- and unnecessary. I was stunned. People are people, no matter their color or sexual identity.


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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