If you have a tolerance sticker on your car and you think that it increases the love in the world, think again. First, lets just be clear that some lame sticker does nothing but infuriate those that disagree, no matter what side of the aisle you are on. However, I digress. The point isn’t to debate the sound logic of bumper stickers, the point is to discuss tolerance and the foisting up of that idea. This is the second “anti-tolerance” post I have written and I do so because, once again, our family has fallen victim to the loveliness that is tolerance. The first is here.
I am sure I will touch on many of the same themes. In fact, I am not even rereading to see. Now, however, I can tell you that it is personal. My sweet little love of a son is being “tolerated” at his school. This is really modeling vulnerability for me here….thank you brene brown. So, many of you know that Adam, my son, is gay. He has come out to everyone, so I don’t think I am spilling any beans. Whoever doesn’t like it can suck it, as far as I am concerned. He is young, sweet and this is who he is in all his glory. This is how God made him. (If you want to debate that fact…let’s go) Anyhow, a while back, he was being bullied. People were calling him disgusting names and embarrassing him in front of the entire class. We had a big blow up over it and it seemed to go away for a while. Lately it has reared its head. This time in the context of tolerance.
All the kids went to the Museum of Tolerance so it must be a good thing, right? wrong. None of the children at his school will lower them self to be his friend. Even if one does become is friend, outwardly, when confronted by other children, the child will never admit being Adam’s friend. It is a passive-aggressive mess of tolerance. No one is kind or compassionate they are tolerant. They tolerate my amazing son. That is fucking ugly.
That, my friends, is why tolerance is filthy. It excludes. Tolerance pushes people in to the place of “the other”. Tolerance does not draw people in, it singles them out. Being tolerated by a group of people is every bit as painful as outward ostracism. It is outward ostracism without the yelling. At least when people are hostile, they are displaying their true colors…their true character. You know where you stand. Not in a very good place, but you understand where that is. When people tolerate you, you know deep down that they hate you every bit as much as if they screamed faggot in your face. They want to, you know that. They have done it before. They wish they didn’t have to tolerate you but they are being the bigger person, the better person by putting away their distaste for you in the name of tolerance. In that milieu, you are on shaky ground. You never know if a person, especially if that person is a child, will be able to remain committed to their tolerant stance. You also never know how far their “tolerance” goes.
On the contrary, when the bumper sticker is COMPASSION or KINDNESS or TRUE LOVE the goal, is at least noble. If you are striving for compassion, you are not ever teetering on the rocky precipice of hate speech. You are far, far away from that cliff. The taste of anger and resentment isn’t at the tip of your tongue being restrained in the name of tolerance. You are cultivating feelings antithetical to meanness and bullying. For the love of God, can one of you parents of one of the children at my son’s school stop teaching your child tolerance and start teaching them compassion and love?