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  • Writer's pictureJohn Whitehead

Tolerance, Acceptance and Inclusivity

These words have become an anthem today. They are being hailed as evidence of a culture that values and appreciates diversity.

Yet, at the same time, the ability to disagree with this premise is being eliminated. Dissent is no longer tolerated, as the days of healthy debate have all but disappeared.

In fact, to question this premise is akin to being intolerant, unaccepting, and exclusive and this will not be tolerated. All of this has made life almost untenable as people struggle to ensure their attitude or point of view does not upset someone else.

If by chance you do risk questioning the logic or validity of this requirement for “tolerance, acceptance and inclusivity”, you face the real possibility of being canceled.

The irony is, not allowing dissent will lead to dissension, which is always simmering just below the surface and, will no doubt boil over as the demand for compliance leads to conflict.

I am fascinated by the notion refusing to hear a different point of view is not seen as intolerant, unaccepting or exclusive. It is as if one group has become the arbiters of right and wrong. As they sit in judgment, they apply grace and understanding to those in agreement with whatever perspective is being hailed as the right one.

Obviously, this is not only ridiculous it is, the exact opposite of “tolerance, acceptance and inclusivity”.

I long for the days where we could agree to disagree and still walk away respectful and considerate of one another. The days where disagreement led to debate which encouraged dialogue.

You see, we do not have to be disagreeable to disagree. In fact, if we will talk to each other instead of shouting at each other, we may learn from one another.

This is a tenuous time and if we are not careful, we may find “tolerance, acceptance and inclusivity” replaced with a willingness to exclude anyone who does not think and feel the way we do.

It will truly be a shame if this occurs. Especially when all we need to do is apply the very things, we desire for our lives to the lives of those arounds us.

As I age, I strive to temper my attitude by listening more than I talk. When I do, I find “tolerance, acceptance and inclusivity” happen naturally because I value the person speaking, even when I disagree with the issue they may be speaking about!

Proverbs 18:2, "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion."

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